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This new periodical is especially designed to serve the 
needs of ministers, teachers, and the more thoughtful lay- 

Three types of service will be rendered : 

First, each issue will contain a series of timely articles 
written by competent persons upon topics of immediate im- 
portance in different areas of religious interest. Second, there 
will be in each number a survey of the latest books published 
in the field of religion. The quarterly will give a digest of the 
content of the most important books, with critical comments 
as to their type and distinctiveness. Thus readers will be 
kept broadly informed about the latest literature and will 
be guided to the particular books most valuable for one's own 
more careful reading. Third, the section entitled ''Notes and 
News" will report on events that have significance for re- 
ligious thinking and activity for persons that may be par- 
ticularly interested in the subject. 

Religion in the Making will appear four times a year, in 
the months of May, November, January, and March. Each 
issue will contain approximately 128 pages. The subscription 
price has been set at the exceedingly low rate of $2.00 per 
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of the first issue. 


Ivan Lee Holt is a bishop of the Methodist Cliurch who 
has his headquartei's at Dallas, Texas. He holds a Ph.D. de- 
gree from the University of Chicago, and honorary degrees 
from Central College, Duke University, Emory University, 
Florida Southern, Ohio Wesleyan, and Syracuse. He has 
served as Professor of Old Testament Literature in Southern 
Methodist University and for twenty years he was pastor of 

St. John's Churcli, St. Louis. He has been active in both 
national and international religious affairs. He was president 
of the Federal Council of Churches in 1934, and in 1935 he 
was a delegate to the National Christian Councils of Aus- 
tralia, China, and JaDan. He took part in the Oxford and 
Edinbui-gh Woi'ld Conferences in 1937 and is a member of 
joint committees set up by these movements. 

Willard L. Sperry is dean of the Harvard Divinity 
School. He pursued his studies at Olivet College, Yale, and at 
Oxford where he held a Rhoaes scholarship. Honorai-y de- 
grees have been conferred upon him by Yale, Amherst Brown, 
Williams, and Boston. He had a long and successful experi- 
ence as pastor at Central Congregational Church in Boston, 
at the same time serving as lecturer in practical theology at 
Andover Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous 
books, notably The Paradox of Religion (Hibbert Lectures) 
and We Prophecy iv Part (Yale Lectures on Preaching). 

James T. Carlyon is Professor of Christian Doctrine in 
^he School of Theology at the Southern Methodist University 
in Dallas, Texas. He was a student at Missouri Wesleyan, 
Boston, Harvard, and the University of Chicago from which 
he received the Ph.D. degree. He was Professor of New 
Testament in the Iliff School of Theology in Denver until he 
accepted his present position four years ago. He has been a 
contributor of important papers to various religious peri- 

T. V. Smith is Congressman at Large from Illinois and 
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is 
a graduate of the University of Texas. He received a Ph.D. 
from the University of Chicago and LL.D. from Florida 
Southern College. He taught English Literature at Texas 
Christian University, and Philosophy at the University of 
Texas before joining the faculty of the University of 
Chicago. He edits the International Journal of Ethics and is 
the author of several books. 

Paul A. Root is Professor of Sociology and Ethics in the 
School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and he 
holds a Ph.D. degree irom Duke University. 

Shirley Jackson Case, formerly dean of the Divinity 
School in the University of Chicago, is now dean of the 
Florida School of Religion. 



Volume I May, 1940 Number 1 

Table of Contents 





By Ivan Lee Holt 


By Willard L. Sperry 


By J. T. Caiiyon 


By T. V. Smith 


By Paul A. Root 


Shirley Jackson Case 

Dean Sperry's Lectures 85 

The Florida School of Religion 102 



By Edwin Arthur Burtt 109 


By John Dew "^^^ ^ ' HI 


By Juliv.- ' :- . .113 

CHRISTIAlv.j i c;.).. 

By Edgar J. (^oodspeed ... 115 


By Frederick C. Grant 116 


Ry Albert E. Barnelt 118 


By M. C. Otto 119 


By Samuel Belkin 121 


By Donald Wayne Riddle 122 


By Ernest William Parsons 123 


By Charles T. Holman 125 


By Floyd V. Filson 126 


By Conrad Henry Moehlman 127 


By Martin Dibelius 121 


By John Dewey 130 


By E. F. Scott 132 


By George Barton Cutten 134 


By A. J. Muste 136 


Bv Leslie Weatherhead 136 


By Clarence T. Craig 138 


By Nevin C. Harner 140 


By Dumas Malone 141 


By Irwin G. Paulsen 142 


By Robert Nelson Spencer 143 


By Ivan Lee Holt 

Bishop of the Methodist Church 

Dallas, Texas 

The one gleam of light in the darkness of Europe's 
struggle is the oft-expressed hope that there may come, 
when the war is over, a United States of Europe or a 
League of Democracies or a Fellowship of Nations, through 
which each state will surrender something of its own 
sovereignty. This hope finds expression not only in the ut- 
terances of churchmen but in the plans of statesmen. In 
the United States there is nearly everj^where a deep satis- 
faction in such hopes and dreams. We remember that there 
was written into the Treaty of Versailles a covenant of a 
League of Nations and that the man who was responsible 
for its inclusion was a president of the United States. We 
Americans refuse to believe that nations must fight. 

When the World Council of Churches called a meeting 
of churchmen at Geneva in the summer of 1939 an American 
urged on his fellow-churchmen from different lands a pro- 
posal for a Conference of Six Powers to consider the world's 
economic, political and social crises. Those from other lands 
were not enthusiastic about the proposal and their lack of en- 
thusiasm was due primarily to a conviction that Americans 
are idealists who fail to take into consideration all the 
facts. There may have been also a recalling of those days 
when the United States refused to support a scheme pro- 
posed by its own President for a League of Nations. I can 
recall very vividly the sharp divisions of opinion in the 
American Church in the spring of 1919. Most of its ministers 
and many of its laymen felt that there was a moral 
obligation to support the President's effort for an en- 
dorsement of the League of Nations. There was in the 



Church a group which, however, in that memorable summer, 
attacked the whole scheme on the ground that it involved 
the use of force in the preservation of peace. That group 
proposed a Pact to Outlaw War. Be it said to the ever- 
lasting credit of those in the church who supported the 
plan for a League of Nations that when the plan was de- 
feated in the Senate of the United States they joined 
heartily with those in the church who had helped to 
defeat it in the support of a movement for the Pact to 
Outlaw War. The pact has been ineffective. 

Now that there is a reviving hope for some kind of 
international fellowship I find myself wondering whether 
the American Church could put back of such a plan any- 
thing like a united effort. Among American churchmen 
there have developed decided differences in the interpreta- 
tion of this present war. To some it is only a struggle 
between two great imperialisms, and no Christian should 
be greatly disturbed about which one is victorious. To 
others there is involved in the conflict an effort to preserve 
those things which have made Western civilization — the 
ideals of the Jewish-Christian tradition. This difference of 
opinion becomes more manifest as the struggle in Europe 
becomes more bitter. Whether the two groups could 
unite in support of a plan for international fellowship only 
tomorrow can tell. 

During the two decades between the first and second 
phases of the world war there have emerged two other 
schemes for world federation. One has come from Russia, 
the other from Germany. In Russia there has come into 
power a group of men who believe that the working-men 
of the world can unite in a great world revolution against 
capitalistic nations, against both economic and political 
control. In Germany there has been an ever-increasing in- 
sistence on blood and soil as the basis of fellowship. There 
must be living-room for all those of German descent and 
there must be an inclusion of all such Germanic peoples in 
one great society. What happens to other peoples is a 
matter of little concern. Both of these schemes are 
battling now for recognition. It would be unfair and 


untrue to identify Protestantism with democracy, and yet 
there has been a close connection between the growth of 
Protestant faith and the strengthening of democratic 

Remembering how easy it is to confuse patriotism 
and religion in a time of war, and recalling how vigorously 
the Church in America supported the Government's war 
efforts in 1917 and 1918, the most thoughtful of American 
churchmen have been trying for some years to disentangle 
patriotism and religion. That seems to me to have been, 
a major effort in the conferences at Oxford and Edinburgh 
in the summer of 1937. The discussion of the rights of 
conscientious objectors and the emphasis on peace as a 
Christian virtue are part of the determination to disentangle 
patriotism and religion. At the same time, political leaders 
of the world's democracies have often said that we can 
never create a fellowship of nations without the support 
of organized religion. 

I do not want to involve the policy of the American- 
Government with the future of the American Church and 
to confuse again patriotism and religion. I find myself, 
however, thinking about those three spheres in the world 
where the United States has been seeking fellowship — 
South America, eastern Asia and Europe. Let us think 
about the relationship of the Church of America to each of 
these efforts of the American Government. As the war in 
Europe spreads, the Government of the United States 
seems more and more determined to promote American 
fellowship. Through the Pan-American Union and the 
recently held Panama Conference there has been an earnest 
effort to bring the representatives of North and South 
America more closely together. The Monroe Doctrine has 
been discussed more frequently than for years. This doc- 
trine has undergone marked transformation. The United 
States seems to have become, in the thinking of its South 
American neighbors, less and less of a big brother who 
will enforce his will. It has been talked about as a member 
of the family, with no more rights than other members. 
Trade of the United States with South America has in- 


creased as European nations have become more fnvolved 
in the effort to survive their blockades against one another. 
Should it become more and more a policy of the United 
States Government to promote this American fellowship 
there does not seem to be much that the organized Church 
can do to help. In South America the Church is predom- 
inantly Roman Catholic and in North America It is pre- 
dominantly Protestant. A very close fellowship between 
these two religious groups is at present impossible and the 
President's appointment of a personal representative at 
the Vatican has brought on more religious controversy 
than we have known in America since the days when a 
Roman Catholic was a candidate for pi'esident of the 
United States. It seems a tragedy that there should be 
such bitter controversy in an hour when the Christian 
Church might unitedly support real fellowship among the 
American republics. 

When we turn from the Western World to eastern 
Asia we find a very different situation. Two nations there 
have been fighting for three years. In one of them there 
has been a very insistent demand on the part of the gov- 
ernment that every religious group must support the 
nation in its determination to dominate the Far Frist. 
Christian groups are tolerated, but Christianity mrist be 
Japanese Christianity. In the other nation Christians have 
shown a very remarkable spirit. The Chinese Christian may 
be patriotic but he refuses to be bitter against those who 
despoil his land. The missionaries have won a new respect 
for Christianity by their devotion to the suffering Chinese 
and their sacrificial efforts to relieve distress. In both of 
these lands the organized Church is comparatively weak. 
It has sought to maintain the closest fellowship with the 
older churches of the Western World which have been re- 
sponsible for the introduction of Christianity. The war 
puts a strain on the relationslfip between the Christian 
Church in Japan and the Christian Church in China. The 
recent action of the General Conference of the Methodist 
Church in Atlantic City proposed a moral embargo against 
Japan. That action grew out of a feeling that a legal em- 


bargo might throw Japan and Russia together and lead 
to the complete dismemberment of China between those 
two nations. While the feeling grows that the Christian 
Church around the Pacific, through fellowship between 
older churches and younger churches, ought to increase 
world fellowship around the Pacific, the issues are such 
that its task is exceedingly difficult. 

On a visit to Australia in 1935 I became convinced 
that Australia and the United States should establish a 
closer relationship. I was anxious to see an i'lt'^^c^'-'^nge 
of diplomatic representatives between these two nations. 
That has now come about in spite of the fact that Australia 
is a member of the British commonwealth of nations. The 
Church in Australia and the Church in the United States 
know very little about each other and the ties between 
them are very loose. The fact that we have such a close 
relationship between the churches of Canada and the 
United States will help in creating a Christian fellowship 
among the churches of the three English-speaking nations 
that border on the Pacific. However, both Australia and 
Canada are involved in the war against Germany, and 
leaders in the American Church are divided in their opinions 
as to the meaning of that war. 

Most of us in America seem convinced that the Pacific 
must not become the scene of another world war and that 
the destruction involved in such a war would be too 
terrible to contemplate. Whatever may be the American 
Church's attitude toward the Government's open door policy 
in China it is an exceedingly difficult thing just now to 
promote the close fellowship we ought to have among the 
older churches around the Pacific or between the older 
churches and the younger churches. We may sing with a 
good deal of enthusiasm "In Christ there is no East or 
West," but we have to realize that it is very difficult to 
bring East and West together with the war that rages in 
eastern Asia. 

When we face the third geographical area in v\-hich 
the Government of the United States seeks to promote 
fellowship we see that the task seems almost hopeless. As 


this article is being written the American ambassador to Italy 
and the President's personal representative at the Vatican 
are seeking to prevent the spread of the European war to 
the Mediterranean. The Vatican seems determined to keep 
Italy out of the war, and the position of the President's 
personal representative seems at the moment to be far more 
strategic for peace than that of the American ambassador. 
There must be a feeling that if Italy stays out of the war 
it will be largely due to the influence of the Roman Catholic 

There have been strenuous efforts to promote a closer 
fellowship between Christian groups in Europe and America. 
The World Conference on Faith and Order and the Uni- 
versal Christian Council for Life and Work have made 
Christian groups on both sides of the Atlantic conscious 
of their agreement and their fellowship with a common 
Lord. In fact one of the most thrilling developments of 
Christian history has been the growing understanding be- 
tween the Orthodox Church and the Protestant Church. 
There has been developed a fellowship which not even 
war can destroy, and I am sure that many churchmen in 
many lands are recalling in these days memories of those 
hours when they felt that the most important thing in 
the world is a recognition of their oneness in Christ. The 
World Council of Churches is not a strong organization 
and it was in process of formation when the war came. 
The sense of fellowship is an intangible thing, and only 
a minority out of the Christian Church of Europe and 
America has sensed it. That fellowship was not strong 
enough to prevent the war and it cannot now bring it to 
an end ; yet it means something for the future peace of the 
world that Lutherans in Scandinavia and Orthodox Chris- 
tians in the Balkans and Evangelical Protestants in the 
United States have come to know each other as they sang 
and prayed together. In no one of these sections of the 
world is the Church as a whole definitely conscious of the 
;ies that bind Christians together so that the Church cai 
stop fighting armies. 

This is rather a distressing picture of the Church's 


relationship to movements for world fellowship. In the 
picture there are some lights as well as dark shadows. In 
an issue of the Sunday Observer I read last July a review 
of a recent book by Mr. H. G. Wells. In the book Mr. Wells 
insists that another war in Europe means the end of 
Western civilization. The reviewer calls Mr. Wells a pes- 
simist and insists that the United States is the custodian 
of Western civilization and that it can join with God in 
the creation of a better world when the war is over. Such 
an attitude is not often found in Great Britain today, and 
any American must appreciate it when he discovers it. 
However, a thoughtful American is obliged to raise with 
himself the question : Are we Christian enough to join with 
God in the creation of a better world? The war in Europe 
will have a great influence on our American life and no 
man can prophesy what that influence will be. 

It is possible that we may enrich ourselves through 
the sale of war materials. There are undoubtedly some who 
favor keeping out of war because they feel we may have 
a chance to put our unemployed to work and bring back 
a certain amount of prosperity. We Americans are a 
strange mixture of idealism and business. A few weeks 
ago I picked up a daily newspaper and read that a check 
for a hundred thousand dollars had been sent to Finland for 
relief. In the same paper I read that a boat was leaving 
a Pacific coast port with two million dollars worth of 
war supplies for Soviet Russia. Across one ocean we send 
destruction, and across the other we send relief. Should 
this war mean for us only an opportunity to enrich our- 
selves we might so completely lose our souls as to make it 
impossible for us to help God in anything. 

It is possible also that the war may mean for us 
a lowering of moral standards. This is one of the results of 
war and it comes to nations other than the actual belligerents. 
The thing which I fear most is that we may come to the 
cynical attitude of inquiring, "What does it matter?" 
Should such an attitude become widespread we would not 
have faith enough to believe that a better world is possible. 

I do not want to lose sight of the fact that there may 


be for us in America a spiritual advance. We are planning 
for a National Christian Mission. In my thinking a spiritual 
advance is conditioned on these three things: (1) A gen- 
uine repentance for our own guilt. No nation on earth can 
escape its share of responsibility for this present war, 
and the United States is not guiltless. (2) A recognition 
of God's influence in human history. It is much easier to 
talk about that in time of peace. The United States is 
not out of the war because it is better than any other 
nation. Our feeling that God moves in human history must 
not be confused with Pharisaism, but we cannot escape 
a sense of obligation to God when we live in a land which 
is separated by a great ocean from a war in Europe. 
(3) The purpose and will to make a better world. If we 
keep out of the war we may not have much to say about 
a treaty of peace. Perhaps we ought not to have a great 
deal to say about peace terms. Nevertheless we might 
show to the world a character, during these trying days, 
w^hich would influence warring nations to seek our counsel. 

All of these reflections on the relationship of the 
American Church to some form of international fellow- 
ship, and especially on the relationship of the American 
Church to those efforts for fellowship which are put forth 
by the Government of the United States bring us again 
and again to an examination of the Jewish-Christian dream 
of a new world and to a realization of the fact that we Ameri- 
can Christians cannot help in the creation of such a world un- 
less we are better Christians. Nothing can do us more 
good just now than turning to the experiences and utter- 
ances of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus. We need a sense 
of historical and religious perspective. To faith we must 
hold even if we can not evolve the technique for supporting 
a fellowship of nations. 

As one follows the development of Old Testament 
history, he knows that the Hebrew people lived in times 
of continuous depression. There was famine with short- 
age of food; or there was an epidemic with death every- 
where; or there was a war when a foreign enemy invaded 
the land. Those of us who despair in a time of panic or a pe- 


riod of depression or during persecution need to be reminded 
that the most radiant optimism the world has known 
came to prophets of a nation which knew nothing else 
but distress. With stirring events in Norway, Holland 
and the Balkans we should turn back the pages of history. 

Isaiah was the court preacher in the last quarter of the 
eighth century B. C. With Micah, his contemporary from 
the country, he sought to interpret to his generation a God 
of righteousness. He had such intimate contacts with the 
government that he saw clearly every move on the world's 
checkerboard. He knew of the advance of the Assyrian 
army which captured Samaria, and when the Northern 
Kingdom fell he realized that the last buffer state had been 
incorporated into the Assyrian Empire. Should an Assyrian 
army move west again, it would strike Judah first. The 
King, Hezekiah, was facing a serious problem; am- 
Mssadors from Egypt encouraged him to revolt; there was 
a party in the Kingdom which urged him to remain loyal 
to Assyria. The Egyptian party prevailed and Hezekiah 
decided to revolt against Assyria; perhaps he and the 
other rulers of small kingdoms along the Mediterranean 
had heard of some internal dissension at Sennacherib's 
court in Nineveh. 

No sooner had the alliance in the west been formed 
than Sennacherib was in the field. His army advanced into 
Judah and laid waste town and countryside. The city 
of Jerusalem was invested and Hezekiah, to use 
Sennacherib's language, was shut up like a bird in a cage. 
■The commander of the Assyrian army taunted Hezekiah: 
"What confidence is this wherein thou hast trusted?" He 
turned to the people of the city with this challenge: "Be- 
ware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, 'Jehovah will 
deliver us.' Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered 
his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Have 
they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they 
among all the gods of these countries that have delivered 
their country out of my hand, that Jehovah should de- 
liver Jerusalem out of my hand?" When Hezekiah heard 
these words he "rent his clothes, covered himself with 


sackcloth, and went into the house of Jehovah." 

The king was panic-stricken and hastily sent mes- 
sengers to Isaiah, begging him to pray. The whole citj'' 
was afraid, but the prophet remained calm and confident. 
He refused to be alarmed and sent to Hezekiah these words: 
"Thus saith Jehovah: Be not afraid of the words that 
thou hast heard wherewith the servants of the king of 
Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will put a spirit 
in him, and he shall hear tidings and shall return unto 
his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword 
in his own land." Whether a plague in his army or the 
"tidings" from his land made him decide to return to 
Nineveh, Sennacherib raised the siege of Jerusalem and 
led his army back home. The judgment of Isaiah was 
vindicated, and his faith stands out against the back- 
ground of a frightened populace and king. 

Jeremiah lived in the seventh century. He faced every 
problem that the modern interpreter of religion must 
face. In the beginning of his prophetic ministry, he faced 
the question: "Does God stand by those who stand by him?" 
This question was forced on him because of the death in 
battle of the young King Josiah, who had been so zealous 
in religious reform. Then, Jeremiah faced the question : 
"How can a man believe in God if he must prophesy to 
the end of his days in a world of war?" Jeremiah never 
knew what it was to live in a time of peace. A still more 
serious question he faced : "Can a man find a new faith 
when the old faith no longer satisfies?" 

As Jeremiah walked the lonely road to Egypt after the 
fall of Jerusalem, he kept saying to himself: "Religion is 
dead. Long live Religion!" The temple was in ruins. The 
old covenant was apparently broken, but God had ivritten 
a new covenant on the tables of men's hearts. 

Against a background of suffering and disaster, two 
pictures stand out in bold relief. One is the picture of a 
prophet standing on top of a mountain to ask God questions. 
He has been taunted by people who have asked: "Where 
is God in such a time as this?" A barbaric horde from 
the north has swept down over Palestine, destroying every 


vestige of civilization, slaying women and children as well 
as fighting men. The answ^er which comes from God is this: 
"The righteous shall live by his steadfastness." 

/The other picture is that of a man who has lost his 
possessions, members of his family through death, and his 
own health. As he sits in the midst of his friends, he pro- 
tests against their theories about God's dealing with men. 
He had received the same religious training as they, and 
had been taught that God rewards the righteous and pun- 
ishes the wicked. Turning away from the only God he 
knew to one he must find, he said: "The God in whom I 
have believed does not satisfy. There is a greater God and 
a better. I know that he will save me." 

I am concerned, however, not only with this optimism, 
but I am also concerned with the prophetic belief in a 
better society. Isaiah looked forward to a new society 
when a new leader would reign in peace and righteous- 
ness. In that new society, there would be an emphasis 
on human relationships. Enmity and strife would dis- 
appear. Men would seek to do God's will. This dream 
of a new society is Isaiah's dream, but it is also the dream 
of every great prophet of the Hebrews. The only social order 
in which men can know happiness is one in which men 
believe in God. 

The prophet Hosea, living in a time of political revo- 
lutions, with one king following another in rapid succes- 
sion, felt that political chaos must follow moral anarchy. He 
preaches to Israel : "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, 
reap according to kindness; break up your fallow ground; 
for it is time to seek Jehovah, till He come and rain 
righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye 
have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; for 
thou didst trust in thy way in the multitude of thy mighty 
men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people." 

Again, he says, representing God as speaking: "It 
is thy destruction, O Israel, that thou art against me, against 
thy help. Where now is thy king, that he may save thee 
in all thy cities? And thy judges, of whom thou saidst, 
'Give me a king and princes'? I have given thee a king 


in mine anger, and taken him away in my wrath." Then, 
he pleads with his nation: "0, Israel, return unto Jehovah 
thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." If the 
nation turns to God, He will keep and bless. Hosea can 
hear him saying, "I will heal their backsliding. I will love 
them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I 
will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the 
lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon." 

The Jewish tradition lives through the Old Testament 
times, and it lives through the centuries since. There is 
a very real sense in which the Jewish problem is the problem 
of unconquerable faith. Sometimes it is asserted that the 
Jewish problem is the refusal to be assimilated; and some- 
times it is said Gentile jealousy creates the problem; but 
the problem is much more traceable to the stubborness 
of faith. The world in despair or the world in revolt against 
godliness and righteousness has no patience with a great 
faith. He who holds it must suffer. 

The Hebrew prophet was far more than a moralist. He 
never lost interest in human beings. He was conscious always 
of social injustice. He was anxious for a new order, but 
he was guided in all that he said or did by the will of 
God. He stood above the political upheavals of his day, 
and in the name of God pronounced judgment on social 

Jesus carries on the tradition of the Hebrew prophets. 
The period between the Testaments is now' bridged and 
across that bridge Jesus touches the hand of Isaiah and the 
hand of Jeremiah. In the Christian tradition, there is a 
reverence for the Babe of Bethlehem as God's assurance 
of change in the world. Isaiah had once preached that the 
hope for the future rested in a babe. In any period of 
human history, no matter how dark, there is the birth 
of a child who promises deliverance. The year 1809 is 
halfway between the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle 
of Waterloo. It was one of the darkest periods in the history 
of Europe. In that year Alfred Lord Tennyson was a baby; 
in that year Oliver Wendell Holmes was a baby; and in 
that year Abraham Lincoln was a baby. 


God was preparing men who would change human 
life. The teaching of Jesus keeps hope for the future alive 
in human hearts. He envisages a new society in which men 
are to be brothers. It is a society in which there will be 
an opportunity for the highest development of the in- 
dividual. It will be a society in which each individual will 
be definitely conscious of his social obligations. There are 
certain distinctive emphases in our Christian teachings, but 
there is such a striking similarity between the Hebrew 
and Christian traditions that they are interwoven. The 
challenge of these days makes us realize not only the his- 
torical connection but the identity of plan as well. 

We turn again to the tragic situation of our day. 

Shortly after the Munich Pact, in the autumn of 1938, 
a clever American actor sent over the wireless systems in 
the United States a dramatic version of H. G. "Wells' "The 
War of the Worlds." So realistically did he describe the 
attack by ships from Mars that listeners all over the 
country were alaiTned. Some left their homes to seek shelter 
and some sought to arm themselves against the attack. It 
was difficult to explain such fear and excitement, and in 
the following days there were many jests about the landing 
of the Martians on the New Jersey coast. 

As I look back upon the incident, it is not so difficult 
to explain the panic. For days and nights radio listeners 
had followed the flights of Chamberlain to conferences with 
Hitler and had trembled with fright over the fate of 
Czecho-Slovakia. Though they were far removed from the 
scenes of threatened war, these Americans had really ex- 
perienced a war of nerves. For the first time in human 
history, citizens of every continent could follow through 
radio announcements the steps that lead to war. That a 
military blow had been struck anj-^vhere citizens of a land 
could easily believe, and that the warriors had come in 
ships of the skies it was equally easy to believe. Whether 
the fighters came from the planet of Mars or not, the radio 
listeners were accustomed to think of all who make war as 

In the month of July, 1939, a group of men and wo- 


men, callod together by the Provisional Committee of the 
World Council of Churches, met in Geneva. The churches 
had to take counsel on the fulfillment of their responsibility 
in the international crisis. It must never be said that the 
churches had not exerted every effort to avert war. Those 
who came together were from eleven countries, represent- 
ing Europe, eastern Asia and North America. Among the 
laymen were men who had been officially connected with 
the Paris Peace Conference, the Hague Peace Conferences, 
the Hague Court, the Reparations Commissions, the Mandate 
Commission, the Lima Conference and other international 
commissions. Some were authorities in international law. 
Among the clerical participants were leaders in national 
churches and the Ecumenical movement. They prepared the 
finest statement on peace and war the Christian Church 
has ever issued. It may be summarized: 

'"The churches cannot hope to influence effectively the 
international situation as long as the understanding of the 
church universal, its nature and task, is lacking. .. .The 
churches should maintain the integrity of Christian fellow- 
ship among those who differ on conscientious grounds as 
to the duty of participation in war." 

Christians must remember: 

(1) "That preaching and prayer should be truly Chris- 
tian, Prayer must not degenerate into a means of national 
propaganda .... War should not be presented as a holy 
crusade, but preaching should call men to repentance for 
a common sin, and urge the righteousness of God's King- 

(2) "That brotherly relations between the churches 
be maintained." Some way must be found to maintain such 
relations across warring boundaries. 

(3) "That the churches should work in such ways as 
are open to them, for a just peace." 

(4) "That the churches must not become agencies 
of propaganda; that they must minister to prisoners of 
war; and give spiritual help to the victims of war's 

(5) "That Christians should show in their own lives 


a willingness to share the blame for the sin of war, and 
that each should reveal in the carrying of his cross a 
gratitude for God's redeeming love." 

In the interpretation of the church's immediate task 
as it confronts war, there are two paragraphs which should 
be quoted again and again: 

'The churches and all Christian people should strive 
to make concrete our Lord's injunction, 'Love j^our enemies.' 
The true Christian spirit does not arise from a condoning 
of evil but from the knowledge that we ourselves have been 
forgiven . . . Prayer is the supreme energy of the Christian . . . 
God's will is the most important factor in every problem. 
To seek to know that will and receive power to perform 
it, Christians must constantly turn to God in prayer. 

"For the Christian to accept a counsel of despair when 
difficulties increase and chaos threatens is to deny faith. . . 
When men in the grip of fear tend to rely upon their own 
unaided strength and wisdom, the churches must proclaim 
boldly and clearly, 'The Lord thy God reigneth.' They must 
proclaim that fact as a judgment, as a warning and also 
as the basis of their faith and hope. The event is with God." 

In the discussion of international problems, one cause 
of misunderstanding is over-simplification, and no group 
in the world is more prone to do that than the Christian 
group. The American Christian is often given to over- 
simplification. A Christian may feel that he meets his full 
obligation by declaring that he will go to jail before he 
will fight, and some of the ablest churchmen in America 
take that position. Another declares that he will be a true 
internationalist and not an isolationist. In The New 
Western Front, Stuart Chase reminds us that there are 
desirable internationalisms and undesirable. In the former 
category he j)uts such things as standard rules for naviga- 
tion, international labor standards, international public 
health work, exchange of raw materials, and exchange of 
travel and art exhibits. In the latter category he places 
international armament rings, exploitation of workers in 
backward nations, spy systems, anti-Semitism, and secret 



There are two points of view which every thoughtful' 
Christian must consider: 

(1) International relations cannot be static. What 
seems fair today may be unfair tomorrow. No nation should 
take the attitude that boundaries and controls must be 
forever what they are today. In the interest of human be- 
ings, everywhere treaties must be made and revised from 
time to time. 

(2) The church cannot aid greatly in the establish- 
ment of a political federation until it has known a new 
fellowship among Christians of all races and creeds. We 
must have some form of international authority, like a 
League of Nations. One sure foundation for such a 
political organization would be a universal Christian fellow- 

In the group of those who are opposed to America's 
entrance into the war are some who remember the last 
war and are terrified by the thought of the sacrifices in- 
volved, and others who are opposed to any war through 
loyalty to their Christian convictions, and still others 
who feel that America can stay out of the war and aid best 
in the promotion of a new world. There is no question 
but that the people of America are strongly sympathetic 
with the allied cause. There is certainly no doubt but that 
the vast majority of people is found in one or another of 
the three groups opposed to America's entrance into war. 
The group of pacifists is very small and the group of 
those w^ho believe that America can aid in the creation 
of a better world by staying out of the war may be equally 
small. Those who fear the sacrifices constitute much the 
largest group. 

In the next few months, before another winter, all 
of these groups will probably be facing some very realistic 

One of these questions is: "Is neutrality possible?" It 
may be that the United States is facing a more difficult 
task tomorrow by remaining neutral today. It may be that 
by keeping out of the war the United States will be in a 


position to influence the future course of events. And then 
it is also possible that the people of this country may be 
convinced that they cannot see the democracies of the West 
defeated without a surrender of too much that they hold 
dear; in that case, we would be involved in the war. 

The second question which we must face is this : "What 
is the Christian course?" Pacifists are quite clear in their 
answer. Those who think that it is necessary for us to stay 
out of the war in order to help in the creation of a better 
world may be equally clear in their answer. Those who are 
opposed to our entrance into the war because they are re- 
membering other days and are afraid of the sacrifices may 
reach a very different decision. They may be influenced 
either for or against our participation in the war. 

So much depends upon the fellowship of Christian 
groups and so much depends upon a recognition of the 
fact that in the sphere of international relations the Jewish 
and Christian traditions are one. It may be that we shall 
have to wait through generations of suffering and war- 
fare before we can create a religious fellowship which will 
make possible a political fellowship among nations and 
races, Anti-Semitic utterances in America when we have 
seen what Jews have had to suffer in other lands are dis- 
tressing. In spite of the fact that Mr. Myron Taylor seems 
to be a connecting link between the two most effective 
peace advocates in our modern world, the bitter criticism 
of his appointment and the attacks on the Roman Catholic 
Church by many Protestant communions in America make 
us realize that it may be a long time before the Christian 
Church can make any great contribution to world peace. 
Most serious of all, the human tendency to identify the 
interests of the Church in any land with the political sur- 
vival of the people who belong to that church seems to 
indicate that we have not come to the time when God is 
the real Ruler over the destinies of men and the Father 
of all people everywhere. Such conclusions as these we can 
hardly escape. In a century when the newly organized 
Christian Church seemed threatened with destruction and 
hordes of barbarians were sweeping down from Northern 


Europe on the Christian world around the Mediterranean, 
Augustine in Northern Africa penned his treatise on "The 
City of God." In it he voices this faith: 

"Destruction may come, but the City of God exists on earth. 
I am a citizen of that city and it exists as long as I live. 
That is the faith which every Christian ought to have." 

This is not an exact quotation, but it is the substance 
of that conviction without which no American churchman 
who believes in the larger fellowship can face the future. 


By Willard L. Sperry 

Dean, Harvard Divinity School 

Cambridge, Massachusetts 

There are various waj'S of classifying the world's re- 
ligions. One method of classification divides them into 
"learned"' religions and religions which by contrast must be 
called unlearned. Religions of the latter type are more often 
than otherwise state religions which exist to give pious ap- 
proval to political set-ups, or private faiths of highly emo- 
tional types in which feeling is allowed to run away with 
both thought and conduct. 

The world's learned religions are so called in the first 
instance because each has its sacred book. The fact of such 
a book gives to a religion an initial thoughtfulness, and 
provides thereafter, in the on-going occasion for its interpre- 
tation and application to ever changing circumstance, a 
steady demand for learned interpreters. Chief among such re- 
ligions is Christianity with its Bible, which includes not only 
the newer Testament of its own distinctive writings, but in- 
corporates the older Testament of its ancestral faith. So 
long as Christianity keeps and uses its Bible there will be 
need for a learned ministry, and scepticism as to the worth 
of scholarship or indifference to its intellectual rigors can 
only work upon the Bible adversely. To disparage or neglect 
the things of the mind in Christianity is to weaken the hold 
which the Bible has over Christians. 

Thinking, particularly religious thinking, is of two kinds. 
We have on the one hand the patient attempt to understand 
a historical tradition and to do what we can to perpetuate 
and further it, in its present social setting. On the other 
hand there are man's direct and timeless insights into 
spiritual reality which seem to come by intuition and to be 



independent of anything like conscious mental discipline or 
effort. The technical name which we give to the process of 
getting such insights is "'inspiration." Our theories of in- 
spiration are many, but behind them all lies the idea of 
truth given immediately and directly to an individual, rather 
than achieved by study. In the more literal and mechanical 
accounts of this transaction it is assumed that a man's ordi- 
nary mental processes are put aside as irrelevant and in- 
adequate, and he becomes merely the physical vehicle 
through which God speaks. Thus, it has been common in 
times past to speak of the biblical authors as being the 
"amanuenses" — stenographers taking dictation — of the 
Holy Spirit. Few of us can accept so machine-like a theory 
of inspiration as that. 

Meanwhile, the fact of religious inspiration, which we 
identify for example with the utterances of the prophets, 
has its parallels in other areas of experience. Most artists 
know what it is. They have constantly told us that in their 
best work they were conscious of a certain effortlessness, that 
they created their masterpieces as ships sail before a 
favoring wind. More than one of them has said that he 
felt as though he were being helped from outside. Even the 
scientist is not an entire stranger to this experience. It was, 
I think. Lord Kelvin who said that just when he was on 
the edge of discovering a new truth he had the strange 
feeling that not merely was he drawing near the ti'uth, 
but that from its own side and on its own part the truth 
was coming to meet him. Musicians, poets, painters, scien- 
tists seems to have, therefore, in the terms of their own 
concerns an experience which is not unlike that of prophets 
and mystics. Personally, I believe that the quality of this 
experience is uniform and that the experience is real rather 
than illusory. I do not think that in these moments we 
are always the victims of self-deception. 

Now most of the world's more important insights and 
many of its particular discoveries and inventions have been 
made under just such circumstances. Take away our con- 
fidence that men may be inspired and that direct revela- 
tions are given to them, and you weaken our whole sense of 


the truth of religion. For that truth presupposes some 
actual give-and-take between God and man, and in the 
world of ideas what God gives is the content of revelation 
and the moment of giving brings the awareness of in- 

We are, of course, living in an age which seeks natural 
explanations of facts and events, and we are able todaj^ to 
go much farther in finding such explanations for alleged 
revelations and inspirations than our fathers were. At this 
point the tremendous gains which have been made in recent 
years in the sciences of the human mind, throw light on this 
obscure area, particularly in our added knowledge of the 
ways in which the whole submerged, unconscious areas of the 
mind — which like the sunken mass of an iceberg are its 
greater part — work upon conscious thought at the surface 
of our minds. We are all of us aware of the ways in which 
happenings in our own long-forgotten past, still cherished in 
memories which we can only call unconscious, intrude upon 
and curiously influence our conscious thinking. 

But like all such explanations, these accounts of what 
happens in the mind, do not dispel the mystery; they merely 
shove it off to a farther distance. I see no reason to suppose 
that the ultimate mystery is likely to be soon dispelled and 
that the glow of the prophet's, the artist's, the scientist's 
experience will "fade away into the light of common day." 
In the end this transaction takes place in some area beyond 
our understanding, where "our life is hid with God." Denial 
of that belief is a death blow to anything like real religion, 
and, I should suspect, of great art and of profound science 
as well. 

Therefore those who care about religion will always be 
jealous that the ideas of revelation and inspiration shall be 
defended. What is more, those of us who are preachers will 
hope that from time to time we may have, if even only from 
afar off, some hint of the prophet's experience. For the most 
learned and scholarly sermon in the world is a poor thing 
beside a sermon which is a genuine and given "word of 
the Lord." 

The difficulty is, however, that around the central area 


of genuine inspiration there always has been and still is 
a vast borderland of delusion, error, and even moral du- 
plicity. The Old Testament carries the record of the utter- 
ances of fifteen or twenty genuine prophets. But this small 
group of men was surrounded by a much larger group against 
whom the Old Testament is constantly warning us, — the false 
prophets. They were false because they did not know the 
facts, false because things did not turn out as they fore- 
told, false because they preferred popularity to truth, false 
because they prophesied for money. These false prophets 
turn up again in the New Testament, which has to begin 
to give us some general rules for "proving the Spirits." The 
Teaching of the Tivelve Apostles, a most revealing document 
which was written just at the end of the first or early in the 
second century, gives us a great many insights into the 
situation in the primitive Church. One of its sections which 
deals with "prophets" says, "Let every apostle, when he 
Cometh to you, be received as the Lord; but he shall not 
abide more than a single day, or if there be need, a second 
likewise; but if he abides three days he is a false prophet. 
And when he departeth let the apostle receive nothing 
save bread, until he find shelter; but if he ask money he 
is a false prophet .... Not every one that speaketh in the 
Spirit is a prophet, but only if he have the ways of the 
Lord. From his ways therefore the false prophet and the 
prophet shall be recognized .... And every prophet teaching 
the truth, if he doeth not what he teacheth, is a false 
prophet." These words continue what is the biblical test 
for a man's claim to have had revelations and inspirations, 
the test of consistency and character. So far as I know, re- 
ligion has never improved upon the simple touchstone, "by 
their fruits;" and I doubt if it ever can go further. 

Let us take a modern instance of the same situation. 
One of the more popular religious movements of the day has 
tended to disparage sober learning, and has stressed the 
importance of getting direct "guidance" from God. This 
guidance is apparently to be had by putting oneself into a 
proper state of passivity, and waiting to receive the spiritual 
truth imparted or the moral direction given. No one will 


seriously quarrel with the religious doctrine of such pas- 
sivity, if it is duly safeguarded. It has been the distinction 
of the Society of Friends that they have vindicated precisely 
this quietism. But one of the spokesmen for this latest move- 
ment, told us two or three years ago that we ought to 
sympathize with Hitler's Naziism and perhaps give it oar 
support because that movement was the only effective barrier 
in the Western World against atheistic Russian communism. 
In view of the subsequent German-Russian pact it would 
seem that this utterance was somewhat in error as to the 
facts. We can only say that, in spite of all claims to in- 
spiration and guidance on the matter, that particular word 
of the Lord turned out to be false prophecy. 

Now it is easy enough to identify and criticize the 
false prophets who are round about. Showing them up is, 
indeed, a pleasant pastime, which flatters our own sense 
of rightness and importance. It is, indeed, a form of self- 
righteousness which we shall do well to suppress in our- 
selves. Judgment in these matters is, finally, God's affair, in 
spite of our native inclination to usurp this divine function. 
Let us apply to ourselves the wholesale comments which we 
pass on other men. Let us not forget what Emerson once 
said, that he who talks much about a virtue is himself 

How can we, as preachers, make certain that we shall 
be, at our level best, men who may lay some claim to having 
received revelations and having been inspired? How can we 
win and preserve, for historic Christianity, those direct 
insights into spiritual reality which, probably more than all 
other types of vision, have kept the people from perishing? 

My own conviction is that, if j^ou study the lives of 
prophets, saints, mystics and the like, who have had the 
authentic experience of which we are speaking, you will 
find that there is some sort of direct relation between the 
reception of a revelation with the attendant experience of 
inspiration on the one hand, and prior personal self-disci- 
pline on the other hand. This discipline is in part moral, it 
concerns the integrity of a man's character. It is, in equal 
part, intellectual and concerns the training of a man's mind. 


This certainly is true in the collateral fields of art and 
science. No man has ever become a great painter or sculptor 
without first having patiently studied the anatomy of the 
human body. The artist who is trying to reproduce the 
impression of a human face or figure, must know how the 
skeleton is put together and how the muscles are laid on 
that skeleton. So no man has ever become a great poet with- 
out working long and hard at words. He must know pre- 
cisely what words mean and what they may by inference 
suggest. He must have a feeling for the value of vowel 
sounds in combination. He must understand how consonants 
hinder or help a line. And this knowledge is had only by study 
and by long experience. I doubt if you can produce an instance 
of an inspired painter, sculptor, poet, composer, who has 
not spent tedious years in mastering the medium of his 
art. Furthermore, I believe that his chance of inspiration and 
his right to expect inspiration lie in his having kept his 
half of the bargain. 

I suspect that precisely the same is true of religious 
revelations and inspirations. And if we wish to insure for 
ourselves and to safeguard for the Christian cause these 
most precious insights into reality, we shall redouble our 
conscious mental and moral efforts to keep our half of the 
bargain implied in this high transaction. It is well for us, 
from time to time, to remit our studying, puzzling, seeking, 
and sit still and wait in a receptive mood. This necessity 
is doubly imperative in the busy and noisy age of which 
we are a part. But these occasional retreats into quietism 
and passivity cannot safely be extended to cover the whole 
of life, and finally turned into a single rule of life. 

The Christian ministry ought never to cease to be a 
"vocation." We ought to keep the apostolic persuasion not 
that we have chosen our task, but that it has 
chosen us. To lose one's sense of religious vocation is to 
admit defeat at the outset. The idea of "vocation" remains 
necessary to any adequate conception of the Christian 
ministry. But it is equally true that the idea of the "pro- 
fession" of the ministry stands for our responsibility for 
our human half of the relationship. To stress the "vocation" 


and to neglect the "profession" is to lay ourselves open to tlie 
errors of fact which have their origin in ignorance, to the 
self-delusion which alwaj^s attends sentimentality, and to 
the moral perils of self-seeking which follow in the wake 
of false prophesy. 

As I look back over the past and ai'ound me at the 
world of today I am impressed not merely by the tremen- 
dous amount of good which religion does, but also by the 
tremendous harm done to men in its name. This harm has 
always been done by men who had let an undisciplir»ed 
sense of their religious "vocation" get the better of their 
obligation to master a "profession." The holy wars of 
religion, the cruel crusades, the persecutions and inquisitions, 
the actual encouragement of immoralities in the name of 
spiritual liberty, the highly inflammable practices of voodoo 
cults, all this and much more has been sanctioned in the 
name of religion by persons w^ho were, for the most part, 
sincere, but ignorant and self-deceived. Even among intel- 
ligent persons wrong ideas of God, of his laws, of his 
providence, of his ways with men, still cost untold suffering 
and drive people in their disillusionment to the conclusion 
that there is no God. Every minister, going about his pas- 
toral w^ork, is confronted by these intimate problems and 
by doubts and denials which have been bred by what he 
can call mistaken ideas about God. 

His surest defence against this w^hole margin of error, 
delusion, pain and doubt is a determination to become an 
ever more skilled member of his "profession." This is his 
one safeguard against the peril of false prophecy in his 
own case, his one warrant for hoping that in place of con- 
stant mistakes in his ow^n thinking he may win the intel- 
lectual and moral right to insights into truth. 

If, then, I am right in thinking that the Christian 
ministry must be both a "vocation" and a "profession," the 
act which makes it a "vocation" is not ours, it is God's. 
It is here, in the terms of our particular calling, that we 
are made aware of a divine initiative. Our human concern 
is with our calling as a "profession." And if this "pro- 
fession" of ours is to be able to hold its head up among 


the other major professions of the world, it cannot con- 
tinue unlearned, illiterate, or indifferent to the things of the 

We need to know the history of our Bible, both of its 
making and of the events which it covers. This is a mine 
of knowledge which we never exhaust. There is always 
more to learn. We need to know the history of the inter- 
vening nineteen hundred years of the Christian era. The 
more fully we know that history the better we shall under- 
stand ourselves and our times, for history as von Ranke 
said, is "the study of how things came to be as they are." 
I have just had sent to my desk a brief being prepared by 
a Committee of the American Bar Association for argument 
before the United States Supreme Court on the legal and 
moral issues at stake in the flag-salute now required of high 
school children in some of our states; a requirement which 
has cost many children of the Jehovah's Witnesses their 
schooling and has sent some of them to the reforma- 
tory. This is not a new problem. In one form or another 
the issue between church and state turns up century after 
century. The lawyer who prepared this brief did not con- 
tent himself with presenting his own private convictions 
on the matter. He has been consulting members of the 
theological faculty with which I am connected, as to con- 
crete details of the problem as it first appeared in the 
Christian persecutions under the Roman Empire, and as 
it has reappeared in the fortunes of various groups like 
the Quakers. He has fortified what we might call his 
"vocation" to defend these children by professional knowl- 
edge got through careful study of church history. I do not 
think his inspiration or revelation on the subject will be in 
any way impaired by honest professional work on his 

So, a woman came to me after church the other day 
and said that she thought the Old Testament was now an 
outworn book so far as Christians are concerned, that it 
contained much that was imperfectly moral and more 
that was out of date, and we had best cut it out of our 
Bibles and confine ourselves hereafter to the New Testa- 


ment. I said to her, in answer, that this was an interesting 
idea, but that it was hardly a novel idea; that other per- 
sons had had the same idea in the past; in particular that a 
certain man called Marcion had said just that some eighteen 
hundred years ago. I went on to say that, if she would get 
some good church history and read up the story of the 
Marcionite controversy in the second century, I thought she 
would understand a little better what was at stake in her 
proposal and then she could come back and we would talk 
the matter over further. I have not seen her since. She was 
either content with her private revelation or was too self- 
satisfied and too lazy to pay the price for a proper pro- 
fessional understanding of her bright idea. Meanwhile 
there was no reason why I should be expected to treat her 
as an inspired religious genius who had received a fresh 

Beyond the field of history there are the cognate fields 
of psychology and the social sciences; — the ways men 
think and feel and behave as individuals and as groups. Our 
whole pastoral ministry presupposes reliable knowledge of 
this sort. I remember meeting on a train years ago an 
ex-minister who, as a pastor, had become interested in the 
prison system in his state and had led a movement for re- 
form. He had succeeded so far that the Governor of the 
State had appointed him warden of one of the state's prisons. 
He went on to tell me how his administration had again 
and again been defeated because he could not match his 
enthusiasms as a reformer by reliable knowledge about men; 
how hereditary traits impair their natures, how undetected 
insanity gets between a man and attempts to reform him, how 
alcoholism must be treated as a disease as well as a vice. The 
whole tenor of his talk was simply an admission that he was 
having to try to bring his skill in a profession abreast his 
zeal for a vocation. 

We are, as spokesmen for religion and interpreters of 
religion professionally confronted by men in the sciences, 
in medicine, in education, in the law who have, many of 
them in their own way, a genuine sense of vocation to their 
task, but who are also earnestly struggling to match that 


sense of vocation by conscientious mastery of the tech- 
niques of their profession. No one who cares deeply for 
American Christianity can look hopefully to its future, if 
its demand on its members for proper technical training 
continues to lag farther and farther behind the standards 
which are required in the other major professions. If this 
gulf widens, the outlook for American Protestantism is 

Let me repeat what I said at the outset; book-learning 
and purely dispassionate scholarship do not and cannot 
fulfil, of themselves, the requirements for the Christian 
ministry. But that is not to say that the reverse statement 
is automatically true; — that a studied avoidance of learn- 
ing is a guarantee of inspiration and a promise of revela- 
tion. Too many churches, in their desire to defend the 
doctrine of direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have 
leaped to this conclusion, with the result that they have 
laid themselves open not merely to an unlearned but also 
to an uninspired ministry. A learned religion, such as 
Christianity with its book, must defend the conception and 
standards of its ministry as a "profession" if it is to pre- 
serve in its purity the prior conception of that ministry 
as a "vocation." 

4!* .:.!?- 


By J. T. Carhjon 

School of Theology 

Southern Methodist University 

Dallas, Texas 

We are under obligation to the Editors of Fortune 
Magazine for giving The Church the place of honor in the 
January issue for 1940. This article is in no way a reply to 
that editorial, but rather a series of reflections upon the 
matters treated therein. 

Fortune does well to remind us of the 'failure of the 
Church.' We who are members and advocates 
of the Christian Church tend to forget that it is the very 
nature of the Church to be a 'failure'. Those are truly the 
tragic moments for the Church when she ceases to remember 
this which is her very nature. Whenever the Christian 
Church assumes that she is a success then is her time of 
peril. The Church can never succeed. She has made herself 
the servant of an ideal, she has accepted the summons to 
obey a divine Lord, she is set to realize on the earth the 
heavenly Kingdom of God. She must ever fail, and she 
must ever be conscious of that failure. It was from much the 
same point of view that G. A. Studdert-Kennedy declared 
that the Bible is "a Book of Broken Dreams," a record of 
dreams of prophets who were never quite equal to the heaven- 
ly vision offered to their inner sight; yet they have ever- 
more made humanity their debtors, because they endeavored 
to lead their fellows in a better way. We ought not to re- 
act with anger or with a feeling of injury to this serious 
and thoughtful editorial. It will serve its purpose for us only 
if we take it as seriously and as candidly as it was de- 
signed. Recognizing 'the failure of the Church' we seek to 
rethink its function and task as they are implied in the 




As one turns again to consider the critical essay one 
may be surprised to find that the first word and the subject 
of the first four paragraphs is democracy. Is it possible 
that the editors are really more concerned about democracy 
than they are about the Church? Do these laymen who are 
also citizens of a democratic nation conceive it to be an es- 
sential function of the Christian Church to serve the in- 
terests of a particular political system? "Democracy is a 
spirit, not a form of government. It is embedded in in- 
tangibles; it consists largely in assumptions, one man about 
another, one nation about another. And in our civilization 
these assumptions are Christian assumptions." 

"As the leading democracy of the world therefore, the 
United States is perforce the leading practical exponent of 
Christianity." For a good many months past we have been 
hearing and reading such suggestions from columnists and 
political leaders who are seeking to summon the Christian 
Church to save democracy. Some of us who were led to 
think that the other World War was "a war to save democ- 
racy" have a right to be careful lest again we be misled by 
false shibboleths. Surely we owe it to the Church to think 
through this doctrine. 

Is the Christian Church itself a democratic institution? 
A few of the Protestant communions may be able to make 
out a case but the greater number of the major denomina- 
tions will have considerable difficulty in defining themselves 
as democracies. Surely no one would undertake to show 
that the Roman Catholic Church is essentially a democracy. 
Could either of the autonomous branches of the Orthodox 
or Eastern Catholic Church merit such classification? Would 
members of the Lutheran, the Protestant Episcopal, or the 
Methodist Church seek to support such a claim? The con- 
gregational types of churches might have better success. 
But the Church as a whole cannot well be called a de- 

Nor can we admit for a moment that only those Chris- 
tians are worthy to be called followers of Jesus Christ who 
recognize allegiance to a thoroughly democratic form of 


the quick and alert and ready spokesmen for the divine 
will. The Protestant denominations seem to be moving in 
the direction of representative if not democratic methods 
of church government. Yet so long as the sacrament or 
the ordinance of setting the ministry apart shall continue 
we are by so much essentially undemocratic. 

It is in this direction which harmonizes with the genius 
of Protestantism that some of us are looking for the solution 
of the war problem with which these devout laymen are 
so genuinely concerned. In the village of St. Francisville, 
Louisiana, not far from Baton Rouge stands an old parish 
church, so clearly an example of the English Church that 
one finds it easy to imagine that the church has been 
dropped bodily from some heavenly carrier that had recently 
visited old England. Exquisite colors set its windows 
apart from ordinary church decoration. The church sits 
well back in a yard of old liveoaks some of which must 
be more than a century old. In the springtime the air is 
heavy with the fragrance of sweet olive. For reasons of 
antiquity and of sheer beauty one might well make a trip 
to quiet St. Francisville. But its message for the Christian 
follower of the Prince of Peace consists rather in the story 
of a grave, that of Lieutenant Colonel George Hall. During 
the War between the States a Yankee gunboat had attacked 
from the Mississippi River which skirts the edge of the 
village. To this day the marks of their cannon may be seen 
on the rebuilt stone tower, much of which still remains 
antebellum in construction. As the smoke of battle cleared 
away the Southern forces saw a small row boat pulling 
toward the shore, the officer carrying a white flag of truce. 
A small detachment met the row boat to hear the strange 
request that the Lieutenant Colonel who had been killed in 
the battle might be buried on American soil rather than in 
the river. The Southern officers considered the request at 
some length and when the Northern subordinate officer 
feared a denial of the request he asked the simple question, 
"Are any of you men Masons?" To which the leader replied 
in the affirmative. The Northerner then asked, "In the 
name of Masonry may we give a Masonic funeral to our 


comrade who was a high ranking Mason for many years?" 
It took scarcely a moment for the Masons in both detach- 
ments to agree. Preparations were made and a little later 
the Masons in both armies laid down their arms and joined 
to give their Brother Mason an appropriate fiinei-al. When 
the War was done the widow of Colonel Hall came South 
to secure the body of her husband and to transport it 
to his native North. Members of the Masonic Lodge at St. 
Francisville gave her everj^ courtesy and finally said to her 
that they would do whatever she desired. They suggested 
however that the Northern grave in their Southern Church 
yard had become for them a symbol of fraternity and good 
will that was stronger than the bitterness and hatreds 
of war. They would regret very much if the body was 
taken away. Mrs. Hall decided that they merited her leaving 
them this continuing symbol of their common 
loyalties. What a memorable narrative it is! Perhaps here 
may be found a parable for the Christian Church. Instead 
of trusting to political organization or to the force of 
arms Christians may themselves create in the world a 
brotherhood in Christ which shall be stronger than the 
divisive forces at work. If Christian women and men in 
Italy, in England, in Germany, in France, in the United 
States, and in other political systems will find in the 
Christian Church a Christian fellowship which will re- 
fuse to be broken, then they will refuse to allow other 
group antagonisms to disrupt the peace which they have 
already found together in the Body of Christ. 

If the Church thus shall become the agent of peace 
perhaps she may still be worthy of the confidence of her 
Lord. "The Failure of the Church" to support a single 
political system, worthy as it may be, may be forgotten in 
the triumph of her Lord who will become at long last the 
Pi'ince of Peace, the Head of a Holy Catholic Church. 


therefore indestructable, that is to say, there is no power 
that can destroy it and its future is secure. The Christian 
doctrine of salvation builds upon a basis almost the op- 
posite. It runs somewhat as follows. Though man was made 
in the image of God he has so sinned and wandered from 
the divine path that he has become a subject of an evil 
Kingdom and in reference to his divine destiny is a lost 
soul. Many Christians believed that the divine image was 
completely obliterated and the sinner sunk in complete de- 
pravity. The original sin of the first parents and his own 
sinful nature united to make his condition utterly hope- 
less. Only by the work of a Divine Redeemer, only through 
the sacrifice of the Son of God, only by the "unconditional 
benefits of the Atonement", could fallen man have any hope 
of salvation. The Christian looked forward to the goal of 
everlasting life not through any essential indestructibility 
of the human soul, but w^holly by the mercy of God. Thus 
man's hope is not in himself but in God. 

Here lies the chasm between Humanism and Theism. 
One assumes that man has all virtue, the other teaches that 
only God is good. Christianity is theistic rather than 
humanistic. Modern theologians are inclined to think that 
traditional Christianity is more in accord with the best ex- 
pression of the doctrine of evolution than is the humanism 
so much in vogue today. The story of the cosmic process re- 
veals low and elementary forms of life being quickened to 
rise above themselves according to some principle of inte- 
gration and of organization which may be immanent in the 
process but is more than themselves. It is a thrilling story 
to follow, as one sees life becoming ever more abundant, the 
simple and chaotic elements becoming ever more complex and 
at the same time more completely related. The glory of each 
stage in the process is that there is something more per- 
fect on ahead. Any species of animal life that becomes en- 
tirely satisfied with itself and fails to make adjustment to 
the new order about to be born must itself be degraded by 
comparison with the new. It may be destroyed or it may 
continue as a servant order below that to which it failed to 
aspire or to rise. So man in the cosmic system must be re- 


sponsive to something higher than himself. He must be 
saved from himself. When man becomes satisfied with what 
has been accomplished he runs risk of degradation. It is 
man's glory that he can hear the voice and the summons be- 
yond and above himself. Men must worship not wholly because 
the sentiment of appreciation leads them to offer praise, but 
for the very salvation and perpetuity of the things they 
count of value in the spiritual realm. Men must worship 
High Heaven or the Most High God or the Almighty, or 
Eternal Goodness, in order that they may be the best men 
possible. Humanity must never worship humanity in it- 
self. Man is fully man only witli a God-reference in his 
spirit. His religion or his loyalty to the will of God is the 
highest part of his being. Man's salvation is in God, and for 
the Christian man it is in the God who is in Christ. 

After paying high tribute to the Church of yesterday and 
after giving just appreciation to the churches of the United 
States for their contribution to the beginnings of our coun- 
try, these earnest laymen speak their deep disappointment 
with the church of these latter days. Again, let us keep our 
tempers and frankly confess that the church of the past 
100 years has not fully met its responsibility. In this day of 
many denominations surely 710 humble follower of Jesus of 
Nazareth will wish to assert that any one of these churches 
is the One Holy Catholic Church, The very fact of the many 
communions is a witness of our imperfections. And yet it is 
only just to ask whether the Church should be responsible in 
the area named. "As laymen dedicated to the practice of 
Christianity we can merely record our certainty that in order 
for humanity to progress it must believe; it must have faith 
in certain absolute spiritual values, or at least have faith 
that absolute spiritual values exist." It may be conceded as 
these men insist that in crises such as the slavery issue in 
American history, the pulpit "did not, that is to say, preach 
absolute values, but relative values." This is the price we pay 
for Protestantism with its refusal to follow any absolute 
leadership, but with its confidence in the spiritual guidance 
of the individual. Apparently the editors are Protestants 
asking for Roman Catholic absoluteness in religion. They 


began the editorial with a plea for democracy and their 
next demand is for absoluteness. The two do not somehow 
belong together. One may have either of two methods of ar- 
riving at the will of God. The great Roman Church has 
taken the position that God speaks absolutely through the 
Church in the person of the Bishop of Rome. Millions of 
faithful Christians throughout the earth ask for no other 
direction in matters of faith and morals. His word is 
final, for to them he is the vicegerent of God and all author- 
ity in these realms has been committed to him. It was at 
this point that Martin Luther had his most significant con- 
troversy with the leaders of the Church of his day. His real 
protest was not at the point of morals or of ecclesiastical 
irregularity in the administration of indulgences, but just 
here in the matter of authority. Luther had asked for sub- 
mission of his grievances to the decision of a Council, to 
which he was willing to give all obedience. From an early 
day it had been the custom of the Church to refer all matters 
of controversy to a representative group of bishops and 
leaders who would represent the world Church. When the 
calling of such a Council was denied, then Martin Luther 
protested that only through the discussion and prayerful 
consideration of a conference of holy men could one expect 
surest expression of the divine will. This then is the tradition 
of Protestantism. God speaks to men, but is not limited to 
a single mind or person to interpret his word. Rather it 
may be expected that a council of Christian men will hear 
more perfectly and interpret more surely the will of God 
than will any single man, however wise and however holy. 
Thus Protestantism expects not final and absolute guidance 
but relative and reasoned direction of affairs. Authoritarian- 
ism may be just as patent and as insistent in religion as in 
politics, and it is still authoritarianism. But it is quite a 
different thing from democracy. The above statement is made 
with no intentional animus for either of the two positions 
as to authority, only that they may be seen to be essentially 
variant. The Protestant pulpit is by the nature of the case 
relative in its presentation of values, especially where the 
scriptural guidance is unclear. 


The editors make application of their criticism to the 
issue of peace versus war. After reminding their readers 
of the mistaken position taken by the Protestant ministers 
during the World War they make report of a questionnaire 
sent to some 137 pastors of the major denominations last 
October. Those who replied frankly admitted their disil- 
lusionment at the close of the War. Many of them had sup- 
ported the goverimient in the prosecution of the war, but 
were quite confident they could not be prevailed upon to 
make the same mistake again. The editors ask what as- 
surance the laymen of today can be given that they are 
not now to be wrongly guided in the present crisis. There 
seems to be no consistently absolute expression of the will 
of God. Ministers seem to be no wiser than their laymen 
and no more sure of the will of God. This charge gets the 
more point as one remembers the current that has set in 
within the Protestant churches to grant greater participa- 
tion by the laity in official Church conferences. The Gen- 
eral Conference of my own church, which met in Atlantic 
City during the month of May, 1940, was composed of 
as many laymen as there were ministers in the gathering. 
The laymen have been granted this privilege after many 
years of earnest insistence upon their part that they 
should have a voice in the affairs of the Kingdom. This 
has been accepted as a just request within the general pale 
of Protestantism and these consecrated laymen will have 
a voice in the most sacred matters of their religion. Ministers 
as well as laymen believe that the Spirit of God may speak 
as definitely and as surely through the mind and heart of 
such a layman as John R. Mott as he might be heard in the 
most eloquent pulpit in the land. This means that Protestant- 
ism thus far is launched upon a movement for lay participa- 
tion in spiritual matters which will remove us still further 
from the position of absoluteness or authoritarianism in re- 
ligion. The Church is the Body of Christ, and of that Body the 
laymen are as ti-uly members as are the clergy. Laymen 
are now summoned to prepare themselves in mind and 
heart to be worthy of such responsibility and to become so 
responsive to the Spirit of God that they shall become 


the quick and alert and ready spokesmen for the divine 
will. The Protestant denominations seem to be moving in 
the direction of representative if not democratic methods 
of church government. Yet so long as the sacrament or 
the ordinance of setting the ministry apart shall continue 
we are by so much essentially undemocratic. 

It is in this direction which harmonizes with the genius 
of Protestantism that some of us are looking for the solution 
of the war problem with which these devout laymen are 
so genuinely concerned. In the village of St. Francisville, 
Louisiana, not far from Baton Rouge stands an old parish 
church, so clearly an example of the English Church that 
one finds it easy to imagine that the church has been 
dropped bodily from some heavenly carrier that had recently 
visited old England. Exquisite colors set its windows 
apart from ordinary church decoration. The church sits 
well back in a yard of old liveoaks some of which must 
be more than a century old. In the springtime the air is 
heavy with the fragrance of sweet olive. For reasons of 
antiquity and of sheer beauty one might well make a trip 
to quiet St. Francisville. But its message for the Christian 
follower of the Prince of Peace consists rather in the story 
of a grave, that of Lieutenant Colonel George Hall. During 
the War between the States a Yankee gunboat had attacked 
from the Mississippi River which skirts the edge of the 
village. To this day the marks of their cannon may be seen 
on the rebuilt stone tower, much of which still remains 
antebellum in construction. As the smoke of battle cleared 
away the Southern forces saw a small row boat pulling 
toward the shore, the officer carrying a white flag of truce. 
A small detachment met the row boat to hear the strange 
request that the Lieutenant Colonel who had been killed in 
the battle might be buried on American soil rather than in 
the river. The Southern officers considered the request at 
some length and when the Northern subordinate officer 
feared a denial of the request he asked the simple question, 
"Are any of you men Masons?" To which the leader replied 
in the affirmative. The Northerner then asked, "In the 
name of Masonry may we give a Masonic funeral to our 


comrade wlio was a liigh ranking Mason for many years?" 
It took scarcely a moment for the Masons in both detach- 
ments to agree. Preparations were made and a little later 
the Masons in both armies laid down their arms and joined 
to give their Brother Mason an appropriate funeral. When 
the War was done the widow of Colonel Hall came South 
to secure the body of her husband and to transport it 
to his native North. Members of the Masonic Lodge at St. 
Francisville gave her every courtesy and finally said to her 
that they would do whatever she desired. They suggested 
however that the Northern grave in their Southern Church 
yard had become for them a symbol of fraternity and good 
will that was stronger than the bitterness and hatreds 
of war. They would regret very much if the body was 
taken away. Mrs. Hall decided that they merited her leaving 
them this continuing symbol of their common 
loyalties. What a memorable narrative it is! Perhaps here 
may be found a parable for the Christian Church. Instead 
of trusting to political organization or to the force of 
arms Christians may themselves create in the world a 
brotherhood in Christ which shall be stronger than the 
divisive forces at work. If Christian women and men in 
Italy, in England, in Germany, in France, in the United 
States, and in other political .systems will find in the 
Christian Church a Christian fellowship which will re- 
fuse to be broken, then they will refuse to allow other 
group antagonisms to disrupt the peace which they have 
already found together in the Body of Christ. 

If the Church thus shall become the agent of peace 
perhaps she may still be worthy of the confidence of her 
Lord. "The Failure of the Church" to support a single 
political system, worthy as it may be, may be forgotten in 
the triumph of her Lord who will become at long last the 
Piince of Peace, the Head of a Holy Catholic Church. 


By T. V. Synith 

Congressman at Large, Illinois 

Professor of Philosophy 

University of Chicago 

"When two, or more men, know of one and the same 
fact, they are said to be Conscious of it one to another; 
which is as much as to know it together. And because such 
are fittest witnesses of the facts of one another, or of a 
third; it was, and ever will be reputed a very Evill act, for 
any man to speak against his Conscience; or to corrupt 
or force another so to do: Insomuch that the plea of Con- 
science has been alwayes barkened unto very diligently in 
all times. Afterwards, men made use of the same word meta- 
phorically, for the knowledge of their own secret facts, and 
secret thoughts; and therefore it is Rhetorically said, that 
the Conscience is a thousand witnesses. And last of all, men, 
vehemently in love with their own new opinions, (though 
never so absurd,) and obstinately bent to maintain them, gave 
those their opinions also that reverenced name of Conscience, 
as if they would have it seem unlawfull, to change or speak 
against them; and so pretend to know they are true, when 
they know at most, but that they think so." 

Thomas Hobbes. 

Our text is from that curious masterpiece of Hobbes, 
the Leviathan. It constitutes one of the most pregnant com- 
ments upon conscience in the literature of morality. It is 
perhaps substantially true logically, whatever may be thought 
of it etymologically. The conclusion that Hobbes himself 
draws from the truth the text contains is, however, largely 
antithetical to the conclusion which we ourselves shall sug- 
gest. Hobbes concludes that conscience as private is morally 
pernicious as well as lexicographically anomalous. He pro- 



ceeds lengthily and ponderoiisly,quoting scripture all the while 
just like the devil, to argue that a "Christian Commonwealth" 
would be one in which the fanaticism that he associated 
witli individual conscience has given way to the peaceable 
and orderly fi'uits of totalitarianism. The "Kingdom of Dark- 
ness" lie then proceeds to identify with the commonwealth 
that historically has been called Christian, one in which 
private conscience is glorified. 

This almost complete transvaluation of values has of 
course its own natural history. Suffice it to say here that 
Hobbes had no little justification in the book of his times 
for this hai'sh judgment upon private conscience. If our 
assessment can be more generous, it is largely because we 
live in times themselves more generous and orderly. Or do 
we? The shadow of Leviathan is upon us and the stench 
of his refuse is brought by the winds of the world to our 
very nostrils. Every ether pulsation throbs to new fore- 
bodings of his approach; but as yet we Americans live in a 
blessed oasis and we may celebrate that blessedness by 
talking still as though reason yet prevails in the world. 

That conscience may be and usually is the source of 
fanaticism ih of course true. That fanaticism is bad for 
society is not to be gainsaid. But that conscience mnst lead 
to fanaticism is hardly true. The risk of fanaticism we must 
indeed run in order to escape the private danger of sterile 
authoritarianism. This danger can be lessened without the 
complete sacrifice of advantages associated with fanaticism. 
Politics is but our general name for the technique through 
which happy accommodation is made between this risk and 
danger. Let us now give orderly attention to these thoughts. 


We shall hardly indulge in the ease of arguing that 
fanaticism is dangerous and that conscience is its normal par- 
ent. Not while Hitler's conscience continues to fulminate 
against the Jews. Not while Stalin's conscience continues to 
threaten the whole of traditionally religious cultures with liqui- 
dation. To deny their convictions the name of conscience 
would be to convict ourselves of disingenuousness. What 


Plato in the Laivs wrote large against the atheists and Calvin 
indited in blood against opposing sects, these modern con- 
noisseurs of conscience do but bring up to date. 

The complexity of the problem resulting and the general 
way to thread the maze are both sufficiently suggested in 
Ruskin's sage advice: "Obey thy conscience! But first be 
sure it is not the conscience of an ass." This advice, like other 
advice, unfortunately is most necessary where it is least 
likely to take effect. Human asses, of the high order of fa- 
natics, take their consciences neat. When men become sophisti- 
cated enough to lay asininity aside, they sometimes become 
anemic enough to compromise their consciences in the pinches 
of social demands. Both aspects of Ruskin's advice are sound, 
but they need to be taken together. So difficult is it to take 
them together, however, that Ruskin like most litterateurs, 
solves our problem merely by restating it, the major problem 
of politics. How can an ass get an enlightened conscience? 
And how can a man follow it (so varigated are its pointings) 
when he does achieve one ? ,^ 


The problem of how to get such a conscience is not a special- 
ized problem, but it is a part of the general worry as to how 
we learn at all. We either already know everything, it has 
been said, or we cannot learn anything. How indeed is a 
man to learn what he does not know, seeing that he would 
not know what it is that he is to learn? And how can a man 
learn what he already knows, seeing that he already knows 
it? Apart from an easy level of dialectical bepuzzlement, this 
dilemma states a profound human predicament — a pre- 
dicament which is nowhere else quite so poignant as in the 
ethical field. 

There is for a fact no pain like the pain of a new idea, 
especially if it be an ethical or a religious one. Almost by 
definition the good conscience already knows the right, and 
the clearer that knowledge is the more it shuts out every- 
thing else as wrong. To the conscience headed for fanaticism 
the matter is almost as simple as that. How to break that 
shell without crushing the kernel? 


It is perhaps safe to say that the perseveration (it is a 
word from the lexicon of pathology) of moral ideas is such 
that the final cure must be homeopathic: it requires a fanatic 
to get a fanatic ready to be cured. If the two be let alone, 
however, the cure takes the form of a killing. As Carl 
Sandburg particularizes it — 

In a Colorado graveyard 

Two men lie now in one grave. 

They shot it out in a jam over who owned 

One corner lot: over a piece of real estate 

They shot it out: it was a perfect duel. 

Each cleansed the world of the other. 

Each horizontal in an identical grave 

Has his bones cleaned by the same maggots. 

They sleep now as two accommodating neighbors. 

The tragedy hidden in that sardonic humor is the power 
of the ill to grow, quite as much as the power of the good. 
There is nothing, I mean to say, which the claims of the fa- 
natical conscience may not cover — from a corner lot to the 
Trinity — and it snTothers whatever it embraces. So long as in 
our religious ambit conscience banned only dancing, it left a 
streak of social awkwardness in its wake but did perhaps no 
irreparable harm. At worst it drove only to the act overt 
those who damned dancing as 'cover copulation.' Nor was it 
so bad when it banned only poker, or dime novels, or smok- 
ing. The catharsis of such 'vices' usually produced virtues 
ambiguous enough to prevent too saccharine a splurge in 

But those who perfect themselves in the pussilanimous 
will practice their will-to-perfection on things infinitely more 
important as their power increases; for their 'knowledge,' 
like knowledge more nobly named, grows from more to more, 
and that always from the same thorny stalk. Raise a peasant 
to power, and revenge is just as sweet internationally as it 
was when he beat his faithful dog or murdered his devoted 
mother-in-law. Malevolence is quite as magic in its spread 
as is benevolence. Finally the conscience that drums innocent 
amusements from the lives of the young will protect the 


morals of the old by circumspection equally sinister. Be- 
liefs about religion or economics will surely strike such a 
mind as proper material for its stewardship, all the more 
proper the less malleable it prove it be. 

The psychology of sincerity is a most interesting study. 
A week end, more or less, especially if spent in fasting and 
prayer, is enough to make sincere enough for bold action 
against others any belief that involves matters concretely 
important for the believer. Personal prejudice, professional 
pride, financial possessions — these are all materials easily 
made sacrosanct by the law of progression inherent in the 
claims of conscience. The fanatical conscience secretes sin- 
cerity as the 'bilious liver' secretes its bile. 

Turn back to a study of sincerity made by a psychologist 
more subtle than the technicians of the laboratory. Re-read 
Browning's long poem, Mr. Sludge, "The Medium." The vil- 
lain of the piece, a fakir to the outside world, puts it thus 
from the inside: 

Why I speak so much more than I intend, 
Describe so many things I never say. 
I tell you sir, in one sense, I believe 
Nothing at all, — that everybody can. 
Will, and does cheat: but in another sense 
I'm ready to believe my very self — 
That every cheat's inspired, and every lie 
Quick with the germ of Truth. 

You ask perhaps 
Why I should condescend to trick at all 
If I know a way without it. This is why! 
There's a strange secret sweet self-sacrifice 
In any desecration of one's soul 
To a worthy end 

Why, here's the Golden Age, old Paradise 
Or new Utopia! Here's true life indeed. 
And the world well won now, mine for the 

first time ! 
And all this might be, may be, and with 


good help 
Of a little lying shall be: so, Sludge lies! 
Why, he's at worst your poet who sings 

how Greeks 
That never were, in Troy which never was, 
Did this or the other impossible thing! 

He's Lowell — it's a world 

Of his own invention — wonderous Longfellow — 
Surprising Hawthorne! Sludge does more 

than they. 
And acts the books they write: the more 

his praise! 

As I saw once upon a time the subtle processes whereby a 
beautiful 'nobody' had become an important 'somebody' 
through hob-nobbing with the spirits, I could not really 
doubt the sincerity of Margery, the Boston medium. Nor 
have I ever been easily inclined to charge insincerity to any 
man's account, not unless his stubborn sincerity balked my 
own sincerity ambitious to be about my ego's business. (The 
egoist, you remember, is only he who tells you all the things 
about himself that you were going to tell him about yourself, 
if he had given you a break!) 

It is indeed this latter line to which I have been slowly 
coming. Conscience meets its nemesis only in conscience. As 
long as a fanatic is allowed to have his way with only op- 
position enough to keep him in exercise, all seems (to him) 
well enough. Conscience is so far forth an instrument of 
order: he is converging the world around his own career-line 
and a pattern is precipitated by his practice. No argument will 
be half as strong against as his continuous success will be for 
the rightness of his will. Such an attitude is not an achieve- 
ment; it is the animal inheritance of each of us human end- 
products of evolution. In this sense we are all natural ego- 
ists: in the sense that our own activity is taken for granted 
and from that vantage then creates its own certification 
of integrity. The flag which each man flies upon the mast- 
head of his own soul is this: "Get out of my way, or fall 
in behind me!" 


It is only when this natural egoism is questioned that 
it becomes questionable. It cannot usually be questioned until 
it is stopped, and hardly anything can stop it which is less 
imperious than itself. At any rate whatever stops a claim of 
conscience save the claim of another conscience leaves con- 
science uncorrected, indeed leaves conscience untouched. We 
may be estopped by practical obstacles or even arrested by 
superior might ; but a challenge of right is the only challenge 
recognized by conscience. Such a challenge is not itself 
enough to correct fanaticism. Indeed, nothing so enfuriates 
conscience as to meet a conscience equally dogmatic. But 
if a killing does not take place from the meeting, an arrest 
does ensue. Delay can under the circumstances be made 
fruitful for the influence of impulses less imperious than 
those labeled conscientious. A sense of humor may come into 
play. Fatigue may dull the edge of determination. Effluences 
of beauty, as many will testify, may mitigate the despotism of 
the moral. "Beauty," says Plato's Socrates, "is certainly a 
soft, smooth, slippery thing, and therefore of a nature which 
easily slips in and permeates our souls." 

It is not my purpose here to elucidate, but only to insinu- 
ate, such subsidiaries as might counteract the moral. Moral 
knowledge grows, as any knowledge grows, from a strange 
intermingling of motives. But moral knowledge does not 
automatically enlarge into generosity while it drives nar- 
rowly toward a predetermined goal. The dominant conscience 
gets arrested usually only by such narrowness and de- 
termination as match its own. There is always mutual desire 
to climax the arrest with a massacre. As Kipling delineates 
the process for the Neolithic Age, 

Then I stripped them, scalp from skull, and my hunting 
dogs fed full, 
And their teeth I threaded neatly on a thong; 
And I wiped my mouth and said, "It is well that they 
are dead, 
"For I know my work is right and theirs was wrong." 
Fortunately for us, the Neolithic Age is over, for us in 
America at least. Through the long-continued influences of 


humaner motives, we do not now normally give vent to the 
full fury of the conscience of an ass, or panther, or bear. We 
have learned, the rather, to say with another poet, surgeon 
as this Houseman is to the human soul — 

1 shall have to bate my price, 
For in the grave, they say. 

Is neither knowledge nor device, 
Nor thirteen pence a day. 

Certainly we have got beyond John Cotton in religion. 
But have we metamorphosed John Cotton into John L. Lewis 
or into William Green? It is clear that in economics we run now 
nearer the brink than in religion ; and we cannot but suspect 
that in the name of patriotism we may now and then look 
over the precipice. In an election year we will hear voices 
so sincerely strident as to cause momentary wonder as 
to whether the will to win has not become more important 
than the will to play the game. 

Whatever be the outcome of such a historic moment, 
the important thing to see here is that the great American 
"game" is politics and that the "will" to play it is democratic 
citizenship. Politics is, as we have said, the general name 
we have given to the processes of social accommodation where- 
by the public drives of private conscience get publicly fulfilled 
in law, privately sublimated, or outright aborted. We speak, 
in this larger sense of the term, of the "politics" of churches, 
of schools, of lodges, etc. The truth is, of course, that demo- 
cratic politics in the larger governmental sense is possible 
only in a type of society where continuous adjustment of 
the same sort goes on in voluntary groups both to relieve 
tensions at their sources and to train citizens in the abc's 
of give-and-take. Governmental compromise at the level re- 
quired by democracy and on the scale necessitated by crises 
is possible of acceptance only among a democratic people. 
While it is true (if I may echo Edward Scribner Ames' 
characterization of religious values) that 'there is no political 
value which is not at the same time some other sort of 
value,' yet this neither authorizes a politician to spread "the 
slime of politics" over the activities of teachers, preachers, 


parents, and other luminaries in our galaxies of prestige, nor 
peiTnits him to escape responsibility for common human pro- 
cesses where they become, as they will in our division of 
labor, his very own. Let us, therefore, now turn to politics 
as such. 


If we were to present the realm of politics as completely^ 
divorced from this gentler social life in which it exists, we 
should have something like the state of nature which Hobbes 
envisaged, "a war of all against all." There are times, inter- 
nationally, when such seems to be the most accurate de- 
scription of the relationship obtaining; and there come times, 
nationally, when fear of a worse seems to be the prime 
motive leading men to make the better of the bad. Hobbes 
is valuable to us because he does peel the thing down to that 
very core of fear. At its worst, the conflicts of interest (as 
covered by conscience) do become so bad that direct con- 
frontation of those opposed only makes the conflict worst. 
Intermediaries are then required to operate between the 
sides with whatever code of honor has been born previously 
of the process of mediation. At its worst, politicians are these 
intermediaries preventing actual violence by spreading from 
one group to the other the fear of violence. Sinners against 
ideals they seem to be, but in a sick society they operate to 
prevent the saints from cutting each other's throats. All 
that, however, represents politics at its very worst, repre- 
sents it where war is avoided only by the constant threat of 

Mostly in our society, of course, the political process 
operates on hope rather than from fear. Then the intermedi- 
aries throw off their dark robes of spiritual blackmailej's 
(threateners of violence to estop violent men from outrage) 
and put on liveries of light. They become the professional 
promisers of things to men so well off that they can preoccupy 
themselves with the hope of becoming still better off. Com- 
petitors in the business of pandering to conflicting cupidities, 
that might serve as another epithet to hurl at the profes- 
sional practitioners of the art of democratic accommodation. 
But whatever we call our politicians, here they are — to 


come, or go, at the call of the electorate. 

While they stay, it is their professional business to com- 
prm's? such conflicts of interest between competing- groups 
as the groups cannot themselves settle directly. Since conflicts 
of any and all interests, however, involve adjusted feelings of 
conscientiousness, politics becomes the art whereby con- 
sciences in contradiction escape fanaticism. Politics is in- 
deed the final school to bring private consciences to the 
gracious test of public agreement, or as compensation, that 
failing, to sublimate the energy involved in impetuous feel- 
ings of uprightness. I say "final school" because many con- 
sciences that can rise to generosity enough to accept agi'ee- 
ments achieved in friendly groups will nevertheless balk at 
such crass proposals as the politicians have to resort to as 
between groups deeply inimical. Politics is therefore a sort 
of post-graduate medicine prescribed for moral education. 
It may be a bitter medicine, but it tests the patient's will to 
get well, even if left slightly crippled. Always behind the 
politician's worst prescription is the skull-and-bones of: 
"Take it — or else!" But attending his easier exercise are 
the peaceable fruits of justice to those who are exercised 

Face to face with inevitable conflicts of judgment as 
well as of interests, conscience reluctantly stretches itself upon 
the rack of growth, a rack intolerable if there were an al- 
ternative other than killing somebody. There have been 
cases, however — let each reader reach back into himself for 
the pat illustration — in which men have done under such 
semi-duress what later they came to regard as among the bet- 
ter acts of their lives. It is safe to suggest that nearly every 
hard-fought law on matters of pressing moment involves 
some such accommodation, if we regai'd it from the time it is 
broached as a "trial balloon" by some leader until it is ac- 
cepted as one of the social advances of the period. 

To return to our text in Hobbes, what men "know to- 
gether" they know more securely than anything they know 
apart. "Law," as Hobbes had it, "is the public conscience." 
It is the maximum of what men know together. While law 
represents at any given time this maximum of what men 


can be got to agree to, the merely legal is sub-minimum at 
the same time to every private conscience. The process 
whereby this sub-minimum becomes more acceptable as pub- 
lic policTj than the private maximum of ideality — that is 
the whole story whereby the consciences of asses leave off 
braying and mount to the dignity of human forbearance. 

But the story seems to fall into two parts: the outer 
part, to which I have been referring as politics, and the 
inner part, whereby conscience bends its neck without 
breaking its heart. Dismissing the external alternative of 
violence if one does not come to terms, let us concentrate for 
a moment upon the terrain of the more fully inner. What- 
ever faiths men live by are worth fighting for, and even 
dying for. L9t us agree to that, if these faiths be attacked. 
But are they worth attacking? They are, you see, generally 
attacked in the name of conscience as well as defended in 
the same name. But if not attacked, they need not be de- 
fended. It is the dynamic conscience that makes necessary 
the defence, because it is such a conscience which engineers 
the attack. 

Now M'hat is worth attacking? Surely nothing that is 
entirely private. Well, things genuinely important publicly 
get publicly agreed upon. It is safe to say that in every cul- 
ture, the most important actual duties are publicly recognized 
by law and all that consciences can agree upon as down- 
right bad are forbidden by law or custom. What, then, is 
the utility of the private conscience? Its public utility is that 
through its pressures only does law grow from more to 
more. Through it the process of agreement is extended, and 
law moves on ahead. But this mobility is not the function 
of any given private conscience. Orderly change implies 
agreement by the majority, if not to do then at least to 
accept; and progress is tested by whether there is general 
approval in calm retrospect. If enough want change, they 
can get anything done or undone. They can and will make 
their wants the law of the land, or, in matters less pre- 
tentious, the custom of the community. What cannot be so 
made may be of the last moment to the private individual, 
but not of the first importance to any community. What is 


publicly important, and it only, gets publicly recognized. It 
is not publicly important that gentlemen prefer blondes, 
though it may be of great private importance. Only when 
it is made publicly important by fanatical decree, does it 
prove incompatible with my own deep preference for the 
brunette. It is not publicly important what a man privately 
believes about economics. What men privately believe about 
religion is of little or no public importance until private men 
make it so by trying to extend their private beliefs beyond 
their own privacy. What remains private is of only private 
importance; and the moment it becomes publicly important, 
it is on its way to becoming a law. This is a matter of social 

As a matter of right, I hazai'd the observation that that 
society is best which keeps publicly important things to the 
minimum and keeps at the maximum the number of things 
which are privatelj' important alone. This is the sort of 
philosophy which is implicit in our "Bill of Rights," as 
thoroughgoing divorce as possible between private fact and 
public responsibility. Wlioever bids in the name of con- 
science to make publicly important what could yet be re- 
stricted to private importance, he is inviting politicians to 
take custody of his conscience by thrusting his conscience 
into the preserves of the politicians. 

It is amazing how many beliefs make really no public 
difference so long as they do not claim the right to dominate 
the field. With that claim anything and everything become 
publicly important. So long as tolerance abounds, variety can 
proliferate; and variety is after all the spice of life. This 
thought lays upon conscience one inviolable injunction: con- 
science must so prize what it does prize as to be willing to 
suffer in itself alone most action indicated by moral belief. It 
is not a test of the depth of a man's convictions that he is 
willing to make converts to them. Quite the opposite: it is 
the test of the inner fiber of a man's beliefs that he still 
hangs on to them though the whole world pass him by. It is 
the animal in us which says otherwise, not the human spirit. A 
man who is v/illing to fight and die to promulgate his way 
of life may, for aught that double fact declares, be fighting 


and dying to inflict his might rather than enjoy his right. The 
lives of conquerors do make it seem plausibly so. The real test, 
then, of how precious a thing is to a man, right down on 
the inside, is whether he is willing to keep it to himself and 
enjoy it rather than to inflict it. When tested thus, all too many 
of the gestures of conscience become a bid for power through 
claims of rightness rather than a revei'ent appreciation of 
ideals in their own right and for their own sake. 

It is in this understanding that we may affirm with 
George Santaj^ana that the "spiritual life" consists in com- 
plete "disintoxication" from the worship of values. It is 
the willingness and the capacity to suffer one's own private 
preferences, rather than the will to impose them, which 
renders men spiritual. The disciple of conscience may, as 
Santayana further suggests, "speak for others with 
authority when he knows them better than they know them- 
selves, but not otherwise." And we must add, for a demo- 
cratic society, "when others admit that he knows them 
better than they know themselves" — which is seldom or 
never. And it is in this mood that we may, in all earnestness, 
ask with Santayana: "Is not morality a worse enemy of 
spirit than immorality? Is it not more hopelessly deceptive 
and entangling? Those romantic poets, for instance, whose 
lives were often so irregular — were they not evidently far 
more spiritual than the good people whom they shocked?" 

Politics (which is the mediation of private consciences 
in conflict by those who accept majority agreement as the 
only path to public right) , politics is the schoolmaster who 
provokes moral growth by confronting private conscience 
with this alternative: Stay strongly within and enjoy your- 
self or Come outside and tveaken yourself ivith the tvill of 
the majority. 


By Paul A. Root 

School of Theology 

Southern Methodist University 

Dallas, Texas 

Few hymns have better expressed the attitude of mind 
of the minister of Jesus Christ who has felt an inner com- 
pulsion to minister to the world than the widely used hymn, 
A Charge to Keep I Have. 

To serve the present age, 

My calling to fulfill — 

0, may it all my powers engage 

To do my master's will. 
This hymn coming out of the eighteenth century 
Evangelical Awakening breathes the spirit of those great 
preachers who were convinced as perhaps few modern day 
ministers are able to be that they had a gospel to meet 
every need of their age. Every age is different, yet each 
age presents a complexity of life that needs the gospel of 
the Son of God. We speak of the changeless Gospel, and we 
do well in so speaking, but we are ever made to recall that 
it is a changeless gospel in a changing world. Hence, it 
becomes increasingly clear that we must understand the 
age as well as the gospel. 

Few contemporary men are equal to the assignment 
of giving an adequate portrait of the age; to see the sig- 
nificance of all the trends which make for weal and woe in 
our day. Is is, of course, impossible to put ourselves out- 
side our age and view impartially the fundamental ideas and 
social processes through which our civilization functions. At 
most we may hope to discover the spirit of our age. But the 
difficulty of that task is equally obvious. It has been 



superbly expressed by W. R. Inge when he says: 

"When I quit the enchanted realm of abstractions, so 
full of poetry, so simple and orderly — the land where every- 
thing has a name expressing its character, and always be- 
haves as a thing so named ought to behave — the land where 
things do not overlap and get entangled with each other, 
still less masquerade in each other's clothes, wolves calling 
themselves sheep, jays peacocks, and demons angels of light 
— when I quit this enchanted realm and turn my eyes upon 
the world of reality, where things are ahvays passing int » 
each other without ceasing to be themselves, where nothing 
ever stands still to be ticketed, where instead of stable uri- 
changing concepts we have to deal with fluctuating facts and 
varying values — like the mad croquet match in Alice in 
Wonderland w^hen mallets twist into flamingoes and the 
hoops and balls walk about the lawn — I look about for my 
beautiful maiden, the Spirit of the Age, but I cannot find 
her." t 

Exactly so. Hence, if we would avoid oversimplification 
we should speak not of the spirit of the age, but rather, of 
the spirits of the age. Indeed, as we look out upon our 
human world today, the Christian minister can hardly avoid 
recalling ever and again Jesus' story of the man from whom 
an evil spirit had been cast out, but who after having had 
his mind cleansed found himself host to seven demons making 
his later condition more terrible than it first had been. 

Surely, one of the spirits most easy of recognition in 
the w^orld todaj^ is the spirit of pessimism born of disil- 
lusionment. The cause for this mood is probably quite under- 
standable. For two hundred years the western world has 
seen rise and come to dominance the ideas of social pro- 
gress and human perfectibility. The liberalism of the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries, the rationalism of the 
eighteenth, and the romanticism and scientific spirit of the 
nineteenth created a new spirit; a new basic point of view 
and temper. The rationalists' emphasis upon the supreme 
power of human reason, while essentially different from the 
t W. R. Inge, The Church and the Age, p. 3 


scientific approach, served with the vogue of organic 
evohitionism to make the idea of inevitable automatic pro- 
gress a central tenet in the faith of the masses as well as 
of the intellectuals. 

In time it began to dawn upon students of human so- 
ciety that however correct the organic evolutionary hypoth- 
esis might be, social evolution was quite a different thing. 
For social evolution depended upon learned adjustments; 
upon collective ideas, customs, standards, and values. It was 
seen that men living under substantially the same outward 
circumstances and with the same biological inheritance de- 
veloped very different patterns of life. Peoples with the 
same racial strains and the same geographical backgrounds 
became both warlike and peaceable; polygamous and mo- 
nogamous groups lived side by side. In short, it was seen 
that civilization was the result of a collective learning pro- 
cess; that collective ideas and emotions ruled the world, as 
August Comte put it, and that collective ideas also plunged 
the world into chaos. 

All this did not impress us much until our age became 
ingulfed in a world war the significance of which we pro- 
ceeded to forget on the crest of a prosperity joy ride. Then 
suddenly, and in spite of all our boasted progress, our 
capitalist economy went into a tail spin and crashed. The 
extent and significance of the wreckage has not yet been 
fully calculated, every sensitive person, however, is 
poignantly aware of the suffering inflicted upon the masses 
for whom no provision of economic secui'ity had been made. 
Science, the "messiah of progress" was seen by many to be 
a false messiah. It was now realized by some that, as 
Chi'istopher Dawson says, "without religion, science be- 
comes a neutral force which lends itself to the service of 
militarism and economic exploitation as readily as to the 
service of humanity."! Science is unable to serve the highest 
ends of human existence ". . .unless it is directed by a moral 
purpose which it does not itself possess."! 

Increasing numbers of thoughtful persons now see there 
has been a "cultural lag" in the advancement of our civiliza- 
■fPiogress and Religion, p. 2i7 ;Xibid, p. 246. 


tion. As H. E. Barnes suggests, we have been like a man 
riding with one foot in an aeroplane and the other foot in an 
ox cart. Science has created a huge machine age without 
benefit of religion or Christian morality, and straggling 
along in the rearward of progress, organized religion has 
failed to bring its spiritual ideals effectively to bear upon 
the rapid changes which have so intrigued the imaginations 
and titillated the sense impressions of modern men. 

Various reactions have been taken to the debacle we 
have v/itnessed in this age. Certain of our intellectuals have 
retreated into their cloisters and have come out only to in- 
form us that the whole thing doesn't matter anyway; that 
the new physics assures us that we cannot hope that any 
deity will help us, for neither the telescope nor the micro- 
scope can discover any such being. Cynicism becomes com- 
plete when we are advised that neither God nor the puny 
efforts of man will avail against the blind, reckless, and 
indifferent movement of omnipotent natural forces. 

That the spirit of disillusionment emerging into various 
forms would get itself expressed in religion is not sur- 
prising. Karl Barth, a creative thinker and gifted popular- 
izer, developed the theology of crisis. Barth saw the ugly 
aftermath of the war, the increasing disregard and negation 
of moral and spiritual values, and he concluded as many 
of us have that "man has bowed God out of his own uni- 
verse." But Barth did not bring God back into the uni- 
verse in any way that could mean much to lost humanity. 
For him, God is absolutely transcendent. He appears as the 
totally other. Man is wholly undone and incapable on his 
own initiative or with his own resources of extricating him- 
self from the utterly helpless condition in which he finds 
himself. The Marxian doctrine of crisis colors Barth's 
theology. But in man's crisis his only hope is an unaided 
invasion of his temporal existence by a supernatural 
miracle. Faith and knowledge have nothing to do with each 
other. Faith is "a leap into the void." At the end of our 
searching and groping after God we are left in complete 

This so called theological realism is utterly futile as 


a basis for either individual or social salvation. Perhaps 
it has served a worthy purpose in counteracting the some- 
what superficial humanism of modern liberal Christianity. 
However, all that we know most truly about man as we 
study him historically or psychologically assures us that 
not only must man discover some essential meaning for his 
existence, a meaning in which he may place his faith, but 
he must know that in seeking to fulfill a worthy destiny his 
efforts are not futile. We must feel that God knows and 
cares. We must believe with Paul that however weak and 
frail and prone to mistake are our efforts, in the end this 
is God's way; that we are "co-laborers together with God" 
building a human world in which his righteousness may 

If this be not true, then we have no charge to keep, 
nor can we serve this present age; our calling to fulfill is 
obscured in the mists of illusion. The result of this kind 
of pessimism has been pointedly expressed by a young stu- 
dent in a Scottish university who wrote this parody on 
Merrill's great hymn, Rise Up Men of God. It runs thus: 

Sit down, men of God. Have done with greater things. 
Cease heart and soul and mind and strengtli. To serve the 

King of kings. 
Sit down, men of God. His kingdom He will bring 
Whenever it may please His will; You cannot do a thing. 
Avoid the cross of Christ; Don't tread where he has trod. 
Sit, brothers of the Son of Man, And leave it all to God. 

This spirit of reaction, of course, is not confined within 
the sacred precincts of theologians and scholars. It stalks 
throughout the world today appearing in the form of 
nationalistic ideologies. We are baffled and horrified at 
the results we see. In Germany Hitler seeks to make the 
church a weapon of the Nazi state. He publicly supports 
what he calls Positive Christianity, but boasts in private 
that the Weltanschauung for which he strives will strip 
Christianity of every vital characteristic it possess and 
that he keeps the name Christian only to avoid a religious 


conflict which might divide the nation. In Italy Mussolini, 
an atheist at heart, merely uses the church as a national 
unifying force for his purposes. In Russia we see virtually 
a theocratic government with Stalin the priest-king ruling 
as absolute tyrants always have. 

What place is there for the law of love, the way of 
Jesus Christ, in a world being rebuilt upon class and race 
hatreds? To us in America, the spirit of factionalism — 
race against race, nations at war with nations and within 
themselves — must become something more than a horrifying 
spectacle to watch from the side lines. We need to look care- 
fully to see if the roots of world sin are not implanted 
within our own culture. Indeed, it becomes difficult for the 
churches in America to throw any very effective stones 
at the sinners across the waters. When we attack the Nazi 
treatment of the Jews, a group comprising about one per 
cent of the German population we cannot sit blind to our 
own often equally severe treatment of the Negro, a racial 
group forming eleven per cent of our population. When 
we oppose the use of violence by Fascists and Communists 
we have ever to remember the ruthless conquests of many 
non-European peoples by the powers who now boast of 
their democracy and call God to bear witness to their faith- 
ful struggle against aggression. When we oppose the use 
made by these new totalitarian states of false propaganda, 
regimentation, the loss of civil liberties we dare not forget 
the economic crisis in democratic countries where privileged 
classes hold on with deathlike grasp to their possessions 
and power while the ever increasing masses of poverty 
stricken must live so hopelessly below the subsistence level 
that in their pauperized condition civil and religious liberty 
becomes a mockery. 

These spirits brood over our age: reaction, pessimism, 
factionalism, secularism, a shallow liberalism. In consequence 
the patterns of thought and behavior of our age are wholly 
confused and chaotic. We see racial, national, and class 
hatreds everywhere increasing. We see education subordi- 
nated to the shallow "leisure class" philosophy until liberal 
education primarily for the building of character, the de- 


velopment of creative abilities, the socialization of per- 
sonality, and the making of good citizens carries very little 
imperative. We see the masses falling back into a hedonistic 
philosophy of life. We see science used both in the service 
of building machines of war and in constructing an ever 
more and more mechanized age in which the mind of man 
is so put on edge that one third of all our hospital beds 
are occupied with someone who has either a mental or 
nervous disorder. We are an age of neurotics. We see 
mating love founded on a fleeting romanticism ; the sacred 
bond of marriage travestied by persons of high and low 
social status alike. Finally, we see multitudes of churchgoers 
for whom worship becomes an essentially individualistic 
and selfish matter. Sacrifice for a peaceable world, a just 
world, a world without discriminations is branded dangerous 
social gospel, as though one could separate individual and 
social salvation without emasculating both. 

In Jesus' thinking it was apparently quite clear there 
was only one way to deal with evil spirits. To drive them 
out is not enough. In the cleansed dwelling their place must 
be filled by the Spirit of God bringing a new potency and 
mastering purpose to life's center. The negative and positive 
side of our task are equally imperative. However, it is the 
positive side of releasing the Spirit of God in the world which 
is the major function of the Christian church. Indeed, so sig- 
nificant is this function that many of us believe the church 
to be the only real hope of the world. Consider the re- 
lation of the church to human culture. 

The church has as its priceless treasure the gospel 
of Jesus Christ. As the most penetrating philosophy of 
life man has ever contemplated it is summed up in Jesus' 
Sermon on the Mount, and in such words as these: "I come 
that men might have life and that they might have it more 
abundantly." "Therefore, whatsoever ye would that men 
should do to you do ye even so unto them." As a majestic 
philosophy of history, it is brought to succinct focus by 
Paul when he says: "God was in Christ reconciling the world 
unto himself." This gospel passed on from one generation 
to the next, interpreted and enlarged in the light of the 


problems of each succeeding age has become the Great 
Tradition in the culture of western civilization. 

The historical approach to social philosophy reveals 
clearly enough that no abiding contribution to the culture 
of the world can be made except within a great tradition. 
Cultural innovations are rooted in past experience; they 
are the beyond which emerge from within. Hence, if a man 
would contribute a lasting good to governmental order and 
human freedom, he must add his contribution within the 
great tradition of democracy. If he would contribute a 
lasting good to the healing arts it must be within the 
ancient and noble tradition of medical science. If he w^ould 
make stronger the intimate ties of family life, he must 
work in the interest of the monogamic family. If he would 
contribute to the spiritual well-being of his age he must 
make his contribution in the greatest of all traditions, the 
Christian tradition. 

The traditions of society are the foundation of its cul- 
tural life making possible its continuity. They represent 
whatever society has been able to learn both from its mis- 
takes and from its successes. 'Traditionalism' as an attitude 
of mind which habitually takes the backward look is, of 
course, a major hinderance to progress. Tradition as such, 
however, has no inevitable relationship with traditionalism. 
By tradition is meant literally, non-material culture. It con- 
sists in the collective ideas, ideals, standards, values, senti- 
ments which have developed in the course of human striving 
for the necessities and wishes of life. At any given time 
tradition is the framework without which society would 
function in complete confusion. These great cultural deposits 
live only in the realm of men's minds and spirits; in a very 
real sense, however, they have a life of their own within 
the social mind of the group. Society's traditions — collective 
ideals, patterns of thought and behavior — endure because 
they are expressed in organized relationships and embodied 
in our institutions. 

The tradition of Christianity exists as a part of western 
culture through the institution of the church. The church 
stands as the living embodiment of Christ's gospel. Through 


the church this abiding way of life lives on from one 
generation to the next. No minister could hope to do much 
to bi-ing in the Kingdom standing alone. The ambassadors 
of the King have never stood alone; they are a part of the 
most powerful kingdom in this world, the Kingdom of God 
embodied in the Christian church. As men, we belong to the 
age; but the gospel and the church belong to the ages. Our 
years of service are limited but the Christian incarnation is 
eternal. It is a sustaining faith to believe that the gospel 
of Christ mediated through his church cannot fail. We have 
■ever to remember, however, that we may fail. For a short 
span of years this holy instrument of salvation is in our 

It is ours to maintain and extend the three-fold function 
of the church. First of all, the church is a spiritual refuge. 
It is a haven of rest against the storms of life. Through the 
church, Christ's invitation echoes down the ages : "Come 
unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and 1 will 
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; 
for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest 
unto your souls." The church must be a refuge against a 
hard and often cruel world. Within its doctrine there must 
be room for all honest searchers after truth. Within its 
discipline the weak and wayward must find a new rule of 
life that is sure and unfailing. To its fold must be welcome 
the rich and the poor, the wise and the unlearned, the strong 
and the faltering, the aged and those of tender years. Here 
sinners may find a place of repentance, and babes in Christ 
the means of grace to make them strong. Here the visions 
of youth may receive spiritual wings and those passing 
through the valley of the shadow the pouring out of balms 
and cordials to heal the broken hearts. The church must be 
God's refuge for mankind. 

In the second place, the church should be a spiritual 
clinic diagnosing and prescribing for the spiritual maladies 
of all who seek her aid. Sin and selfishness, fear and dis- 
illusionment, the sense of defeat and disgrace, inflated ego 
and false pride, over-emotionality and depression in the 
face of life's temptations, tragedies and other exigencies 


are all spiritual maladies. From out the minister's treasure 
must come new truths and insights as well as old if the 
real personal problems of men are to be afforded spiritual 

In the history of medicine and medical teaching, system- 
atic medicine preceded clinical medicine. The great medical 
tradition changed little through the years. Students read 
books and heard lectures but had little opportunity to see 
patients at the bedside. The result was faulty diagnosis and 
faulty treatment. In the last half century systematic medicine 
has been transformed by the development of clinical medi- 
cine. The spirit of the medical tradition goes on, but 
traditional guesses of the past are minimized by scientific 
clinical methods. So too, in the church, ancient formulas 
for men's spiritual maladies are discarded as we learn more 
about human nature and the causes of spiritual breakdown. 
No longer do we think of the nature of man as totally de- 
praved, or humiliate the lost until their self-respect is 
gone, their wills broken. Persons with spiritual maladies are 
treated as persons with sick souls. Like Jesus, the minister 
is a physician of men's souls and personalities. Jesus was 
the world's outstanding preacher but he fed the hungry and 
ministered to the sick and maladjusted by methods which 
were applications of his doctrine. It is indeed true that 
the test of a minister's sermon is not the compliments he 
gets but the persons who seek him out during the week 
to help them adjust to their inner life struggles and quests. 
No pious shibboleths will do in an hour when the inner life 
of a man is opened before the physician of the soul. The 
minister must have an understanding of human personality, 
the meaning of crisis experiences, the influence of environ- 
mental factors and a depth of insight founded in vital 
religious and scientific knowledge. 

Not only must the church be a refuge and clinic for 
troubled hearts and minds, but the church must be a kind 
of spiritual armory. An armory within which soldiers of 
the cross are prepared to fight against the world's social 
evils. The church must not lose its militant character. There 
is such a thing as holy war. The church has always been 


engaged in waging holy war against the world's intrenched 
evils. The way for the church to repent for its unholy al- 
liance with the civil powers which have used wars of human 
destruction for selfish ends is to forsake such alliances in 
the future and to give itself unsparingly to a very different 
type of struggle. Let us repudiate national, racial, and class 
struggles "against flesh and blood," but let us support as 
we never have before the struggle against what Paul called 
the "principalities and powers of darkness of this world," 
which exploit, brutalize, or cheapen the personalities of men. 

The minister must speak a word concerning selfishness 
and greed, and if it is the task of the minister to speak to 
personal greed, it is also his task to speak concerning a 
system which greed builds and maintains, whether political 
or economic. The minister has a word to speak to personal 
impurity and immorality, and if so, he also has a word to 
say concerning the organized expressions of impurity and 
immorality. The great forces of evil in this world go beyond 
the weakness and perversity of individual men. They are 
social systems, customs, and social patterns which foist a 
pagan way of life upon the masses. The church is not a social 
reform society, as such. It is interested first and last in 
the souls, the personalities of individual men. However, it 
is because of this very fact that it cannot fail to be con- 
cerned with every inner potency and outer environmental 
condition which influences and molds the lives of individual 
men. The church cannot right all the wrongs of society, 
but it can give the inspiration and power by which it is 
to be accomplished. Our supreme task is to bring eternal 
values to bear upon the common ways of life. Too long, as 
Matthew Spinka says, "we have thought in marble and 
builded in mud." 

We have spoken of the spirits of the age. It is well 
to recall that greater and eventually more powerful than the 
spirits of the age is the Spirit of the ages. "Be ye trans- 
formed by the renewing of your mind. Let this mind be 
in you which was also in Christ Jesus." We spend our days 
ferreting out and reviewing the signs of the times. It may 
be for us a consolation but it should also be a challenge to 


remember that over against all the chaotic and 
tragic signs of the time stands the cross of Christ — the 
Sign of all times. The larger meaning of the cross for 
human destiny is probably little understood by any of us; 
and yet we go on in the faith that the quality of love that 
bears a cross may eventually lead our human world beyond 


By Shirley Jackson Case 

Florida School of Religion 

Lakeland, Florida 

Religion is one of humanity's oldest concerns. In every 
society, however ancient, religion occupied a conspicuous 
place. Among the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Per- 
sians, Greeks and Romans, as among the Hebrews, religious 
practices, beliefs and institutions formed an integral part of 
the social order. This religious heritage from antiquity, 
passed on by Christianity to Europe and America, still re- 
mains firmly entrenched in our modern culture. 

At various times and among different peoples religion 
has conformed to the methods and ideologies characteristic 
of the prevailing types of government. Whether men lived 
under the domination of a tyrant, under the administration 
of an aristocracy, under an imperial ruler, under a mo- 
narchical regime, or in a democratically organized state, the 
operations of religion ordinarily followed the dominant 
political model. 

This fact has been amply illustrated even in the history 
of Christianity. The Christian church in different territories 
and in successive periods of its history has organized itself 
after the pattern of the governmental institutions of the 
state. In Roman times under Christian emperors like Con- 
stantine and Justinian the church was distinctly an im- 
perial establishment. When the Roman Empire declined in 
western Europe the church continued to maintain this 
ideal under the direction of an imperial papacy. When the 
imperial power was restored to politics again under 
Charlemagne, who was declared emperor by the pope in the 
year 800 A. D., the church stamped its approval upon the 
state as the secular authority that was to maintain for the 




church its universal sway over mankind. But in time the 
rulers of this new "Holy Roman Empire," as it was called, 
often proved recalcitrant, and the history of medieval 
Europe was frequently disturbed by desperate struggles 
between popes and emperors for supremacy. Yet imperial- 
ism remained the dominant ideal, the crucial problem being 
whether it should be a religious or a secular imperialism. 

The Protestant reformation offered vigorous resistance 
to the domination of this imperial church over the conduct 
and consciences of men. The leaders of the reformation were 
zealous for the revival of genuine personal religion in the 
life of the individual, yet their conception of the church as 
an organized institution was largely colored by the new 
interest in nationalism that for some time had been gather- 
ing momentum in Europe. The church and the state were 
still inseparably linked in the same governmental pattern. 
Zwingli at Zurich was a zealous patriot who thought of 
religion as the foundation on which a new national life of 
the Swiss people was to be reared. Calvin at Geneva made 
the church an organ of civic government over which Calvin 
virtually ruled as king. Luther ultimately formed an al- 
liance with the German princes that identified Protestant 
Christianity with the political administration of Germany. 
And Henry VIII in England "reformed" Christianity in 
his realm by making himself instead of the pope head of 
the church. Thus Protestantism rejected imperialism as 
an organizing principle and adopted instead a national or 
monarchical ideal. 

The democratic type of government is a relatively 
modern development that has attained its most substantial 
form in France, Great Britain and the United States of 
America. But in America only have democratic ideals found 
their fullest application in the realm of religion. The older 
European countries have received from the past so large 
a heritage of either imperial or national habits of religious 
thought that the growth of the democratic temper in 
religion has been much less general in Europe than in 
America. In France, where the Roman Catholic church is 
so widely adherred to by the populace, the imperial con- 


ception of a dominating papacy remains prevalent, even 
thougli the state has completely severed its relations with 
the church. In Germany Protestantism was a state church 
under the Kaisers; and in England the established church is 
still a monarchical institution whose chief prelate may 
successfully refuse to place his approval upon a legitimate 
heir to the English crown. Religious democracy is ex- 
tensively practiced today in Great Britain among the "free" 
churches, as they are termed, that exist without formal 
state approval. But in America, where no branch of 
Christendom enjoys the favor of political patronage, every 
church must ultimately depend for its success upon the 
strength of its appeal to the people. Thus America is, in 
a peculiar sense, the home of democracy in religion. 

How highly do we Americans value this democratic 
heritage? Are we conscious of the dangers that today 
threaten its continuance, and are we prepared to rise 
up in its defense? 


What is democracj^? As ordinarily defined, democracy 
is an exalted ideal. It envisages a form of government in 
which the will of the people finds unhindered and complete 
expression, a government "for the people, of the people, 
and by the people." Their voice is the ultimate authority. 
Thus democracy is the absolute antithesis of any form of 
rule by an individual or a class that arrogates to itself the 
right to control, according to its arbitrary notions and 
purposes, the administrative machinery of government. The 
rule of tyrants, the regime of dictators, the autocratic 
sway of unlimited monarchs, the military domination of 
emperors, the seizure of power by any specific group whether 
of the aristocracy or the proletariat, or any other procedure 
by which the will and wishes of all the citizens are sub- 
jected to the forcible control of a ruling individual or an 
aggressive class, is anathema to the the ideal of democracy. 

A democratic administration aims to insure perfect 
liberty for individual desires and opinions. Working from the 



hypothesis that all men are born free and equal, and that 
conscience is the supreme monitor for conduct, one assumes 
that all persons have an inalienable right to determine the 
form of government under which they are to live. Every 
type of sincere interest and honest belief is entitled to a 
hearing. There can be no legitimate suppression of the 
fundamental convictions of individuals however much they 
differ from one another. Liberty and toleration are the very 
life-blood of the body politic in any ideally democratic order. 
The exercise of force, or any other compulsory measures 
employed to effect uniformity at the cost of personal free- 
dom, violates democracy's most sacred principles. Democracy 
visualizes a Utopian realization of perfect individual liberty 
'combined with a harmoniously operating governmental 
machinery. Thus one would guarantee to all members of 
the social order an equal measure of advantage and privilege. 
Such is democracy's ideal, but its practical realization has 
proved to be a difficult if not impossible task. 

On the lower plane of reality democracy is as yet only 
an experiment. The ideal still awaits its perfect fulfilment. 
Throughout the course of the centuries in different parts 
of the world the democratic plan has been tried with varying 
degrees of success. As everyone familiar with ancient 
history knows, the most notable instance of democratic 
government in antiquity was that at Athens under the 
leadership of Pericles in the fifth century B.C. But the 
experiment was relatively short-lived. While Pericles con- 
tinued to give the movement his wise guidance it operated 
with a measure of success, but later its inapplicability beyond 
the limits of a single city and the lack of educated opinion 
among the masses led to the conclusion that strictly demo- 
cratic government was inefficient if not indeed perverse. 
When Aristotle in the next century composed his treatise 
on politics he declared democracy to be an inferior ideal 
since the common people were disposed to legislate in favor 
of the poor and ignorant. It was government by the mob. A 
good public administration would have to be the work of 
the more frugal, prosperous and intelligent citizens, who 
numerically were always in the minority. Hence democratic 


rule was an impractical program. The experiment had failed. 

Similarly in early Roman times the local municipalities 
were distinctly democratic in their procedures. In making 
laws by which the community was to be governed every 
citizen voted in person at the public assembly of his 
group. But with the rapid geographical expansion of the 
Romans this primitive custom lost its effectiveness. The 
population became too numerous and the distances too 
great for the regular assembling of persons qualified to 
vote on the rapidly multiplying problems of legislation and 
administration. A modicum of democratic ideals maintained 
a precarious existence during the years of the republic 
but w^ith the emergence of the empire the last vestiges of 
democracy succumbed to the mightiest military dictatorship 
that the world has thus far known. The democratic experi- 
ment was extinguished almost before its fires had been 
fairly lighted. 

In more recent times, apart from the narrowly re- 
stricted area of the cantons of Switzerland, attempts to 
pursue the democratic way of life have found their widest 
sphere of operation in England, France and the United 
States of America. In each of these countries the initial 
urge toward democracy expressed itself in different ways, 
but the final outcome in these several territories shows 
similar results in the way of trial and error, success and 
failure, and conflict of opinions as to the ultimate efficiency 
of the democratic ideal, when rigidly applied to the compli- 
cated problems of modern government. 

Even in the United States where the experiment has 
had the greatest freedom for its operation, wide discrepancies 
have intervened between the ideal and its realization. Before 
leaving the Mayflower the Pilgrims had all signed a com- 
pact agreeing to "submit to such government and gover- 
nors as they should by common consent agree to make and 
choose." Similarly other colonists were compelled to invent 
their own governmental machinery and by force of circum- 
stance adopted in practice the democratic type of organiza- 
tion, in spite of the fact that leaders like John Cotton 
and John Winthrop detested it as a theory. The latter de- 


Glared it to be the "meanest and worst of all forms of gov- 
ernment." Thus the democratic experiment in America at 
first grew spontaneously out of the native soil rather than 
from any seed carried across the Atlantic to be nourished 
in an exotic climate. And, when the colonists became 
established in their several regions the vigor with which 
they persecuted non-conformity of any sort within their re- 
spective groups is ample evidence of their hostility toward 
the principles of democracy. 

The democratic experiment had been making slow head- 
way in America for a century and a half before it was 
formally adopted as the governing principle in our political 
life. Then it was written into the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. As a contemporary remarked, the language was 
received as though it were a decree promulgated from 
heaven. It announced that "we hold these truths to be 
self-evident, that all men are created equal ; that they are 
endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; 
that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of hap- 
piness; and that to secure these rights, governments are 
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the 
consent of the governed." But, notwithstanding this lofty 
ideal, the royalist minority in the new state suffered perse- 
cution, their property was confiscated, and large numbers 
of them departed for Canada to make a new home where 
they hoped to enjoy unmolested those inalienable rights to 
individual liberty of opinion now denied them under the 
new democratic regime in their former fatherland. 

Democracy was still an experiment. It was not uni- 
versally applicable. It benefited the conformist onlj'; the 
non-conformist remained an excommunicant. The succeeding 
years have not changed this general situation. Pure de- 
mocracy as an ideal continues to be confronted by the perplex- 
ing problem of becoming so incorporated into the institutions 
of government that it will not trespass upon those rights 
and liberties claimed for themselves by protesting individual 
members of the community, however few they may be 
in numbers, who wish to pursue a course of thought or 
action that runs counter to the popular will. The voice of 


the majority becomes law and is imposed upon the 
minority regardless of its alleged democratic rights. 

If we would understand democracy as a concrete fact 
in the sphere of government we must seek another type 
of definition, a definition not expressed in terms of some 
imaginary ideal pulled down out of the sky to be super- 
imposed upon an existing social order, but one that embodies 
the specific data of actual human experience. What is 
democracy as it has gradually emerged in the course of 
the historical evolution of governments? We need to frame 
a realistic rather than an idealistic type of definition. And 
any ideal that we may set up as the goal of future effort 
will rise upon the solid foundations of realizable possibilities 
that have been, or can be, tested in the actual processes 
of men's living together in a practically operating social 
order. It it only this type of ideal that can ever become 
a factual attainment. 

All forms of government are products of social evolution. 
One man living alone on an otherwise uninhabited and inac- 
cessible island in the South Seas would have no occasion 
to trouble himself about the problems of government. But 
if two persons found themselves dwelling there together 
some form of government would have to be adopted to 
prevent the common interests of the two from being sacri- 
ficed to the arbitrary will or conduct of either of the indi- 
viduals. Only a war of mutual extermination could pre- 
vent the necessity of some elementary form of governmental 
institutions. The larger the social group becomes the 
more important becomes the problem of maintaining the 
common weal — the respuhlica, as it was termed by the 

Every social community from the most ancient and 
primitive to the most modern and highly diversified has 
been compelled to work out some type of organized govern- 
ment to conserve and foster the general good of the group 
beyond and above the whims and fancies of any or all 
individuals. In no organized society can the life of any one 
person be assumed to have rights that transcend the 
welfare of the community. K democracy is defined as 


idealized individualism it can fittingly apply only to one 
person living in total isolation from all other members 
of mankind. 

When we recognize that the maintenance of social 
well-being is the primary function of every type of govern- 
mental administration, some of our traditional ways of 
thinking about democracy will have to be extensively 
revised. For example, we have been told by our idealists 
that all men are born free and equal. But it requires only 
slight observation on the realistic level of actual life to 
show us that this postulate is not true to fact. Those of 
us who have spent our lives in the teaching profession long 
ago learned that men are born with very diverse natural 
capacities for acquiring knowledge and developing skills. 
And the alleged freedom that men possess by right of birth is 
no less a fiction. The life of the infant is socially conditioned 
from the moment it draws its first breath. When he 
reaches maturity he has become an infinitely complex bundle 
of habits, impulses and opinions absorbed from his social 
environment. Freedom to exercise his will is not a divine 
birthright, but is only a personal inclination colored by the 
totality of his social experiences and the distinctiveness of 
his own tastes. Also, his right to the enjoyment of liberty 
and the pursuit of happiness has no stronger claim to 
absolute validity. As a member of society his quest for 
personal freedom and pleasure must always remain 
rigidly circumscribed by the similar rights of others with 
whom he is brought in constant contact. Even the sanctity 
of conscience cannot free one from social obligations. When 
we affirm that government must not require a man to act 
contrary to his conscience we are prone to forget that 
conscience itself is molded by our environment, experience 
and education. Two men may espouse in all good con- 
science quite contrary modes of thought and action be- 
cause each follows the path in which his conscience has 
been taught to walk. And when consciences are in conflict 
they cannot furnish democracy an absolute norm of pro- 

How, then, shall we define democracy? It is an ex- 


perimental form of government deriving its validity from 
its functional efficiency as an instrument for conserving 
the welfare of the total social community. Its claim to 
divine credentials is no more valid than the older theory of 
the divine right of kings. It is not designed primarily to 
insure a greater measure of irresponsible liberty or free- 
dom for the individual, but to induce all citizens to par- 
ticipate in maintaining the well-being of community, state 
and nation. It is essentially a social enterprise carried on 
by the people as a whole and in the interests of their 
common welfare. 

One more question needs to be asked. How does this prac- 
tical type of democracy actually work? In a small community 
where all citizens can conveniently assemble for joint action, 
legislation may be enacted by the total body politic. But a 
more numerous and widely dispersed population necessitates 
a different procedure. Separate communities must then 
select representatives to voice their wishes in framing the 
laws and appointing the persons by whom the laws are to 
be administered. It is just at this point where democracy 
is always in danger of losing its soul. The average citizen 
tends to shake off his personal responsiblity for maintaining 
an enlightened mind on political problems and contentedly 
leaves his elected representatives entire freedom to pursue 
their own devices in the affairs of government. They in 
turn naturally seek so to exploit their constituencies, by 
means of propaganda and well-oiled election machinery, that 
their return to office will be insured. 

A successful democracy can be saved from this pit- 
fall only by means of education. An enlightened citizenry 
is the one foundation on which a substantial democratic 
superstructure can be reared. But this does not mean that 
an elected representative of the people should remain a mere 
echo of current popular emotions. By virtue of his office he 
is in duty bound to make himself a specialist in the problems 
of government. If he takes his task seriously his growth 
in wisdom and maturity of judgment ought to exceed that 
of the average citizen. 

Edmund Burke once said to his constituents, "Your 


representative owes you not his industry only, but his judg- 
ment." What a rank heresj- for a politician to advocate! 
If he would be regular, orthodox, then he must be only 
the puppet of the people's will and vote on issues and policies 
in accordance with the latest utterance of radio-orators and 
telegram-senders. He is but a weather-vane to register the 
shifting currents of popular emotion, when he ought to 
be a competent navigator to steer the ship of state. His 
chances for reelection should be improved and not im- 
perilled by evidences of competence and intelligence superior 
to that of the mob. Democracy will not rise to the highest 
level of efficiency until it has learned to profit by the 
ability of its representatives to entertain valid convictions 
rooted in studious investigation and intelligent interpreta- 
tion of matters with which legislators ought to be most 
competent to deal. The most desirable relation between the 
candidate and the electorate should be one of mutual under- 
standing and cooperative intelligence. This is an educational 
task in which, thus far, democracy has been sadly deficient. 

A second phase in the operation of an essentially real- 
istic democracy is submission to the will of the majority. 
This does not mean that majorities are always right and 
minorities always ■v\'rong. Historians know only too well 
the fallacy of this doctrine. Time and again in the course 
of social evolution opinions that have enjoyed popular 
favor in one age have been set aside as fallacious by the 
next generation, wiiile views frowned upon yesterday have 
become gospel truth for today. The democratic mind is never 
static but is always open to change. Even so sacred a docu- 
ment as the constitution of the United States has to be 
supplemented by amendments and new interpretations in 
order to keep pace with the course of social developments. It 
is essential to the genius of democracy that it should be 
always on the move. 

There are two characteristic ways in which change may 
be effective. One is the method of violence expressing itself 
in revolution, and the other is by the process of educational 
evolution. The former, however necessarj^ it may be for 
delivering mankind from certain types of oppressive 


government, is always a disflster within a democracy. It 
merely elevates one party to a position of absolute power 
over all competitors, and a long time may elapse before 
rival views can once more come to open expression, A 
government that aims to insure liberty for the individual, 
while at the same time it safeguards the welfare of the total 
body politic, will not hastily appeal to the god of war. 
Although we may belong to the minority, we submit to the 
rule of the majority until by force of persuasion and en- 
lightenment we or they have been converted to the other's 
point of view. This is the only procedure suitable to a 
practically operating democracy. 

Perhaps the greatest weakness in a socially conceived 
democracy is the temptation that besets all of us to lapse 
into a state of comfortable individualism. We do not naturally 
respond to the apostolic injunction to bear one another's 
burdens, and we frown upon any action which the govern- 
ment may take to interfere with our personal affairs in 
the interests of the larger community. We are devoted 
disciples of the doctrine of lasser-faire, to use a term in- 
vented by the French. We want to be let alone to do as we 
please, a condition that we call true democracy. Actually, 
it is only a glorified selfishness. Social planning is in- 
dispensable to our happy existence in community, state and 
nation. This is a task incumbent upon all democratic govern- 
ment. It must encourage the free exercise of individual 
initiative and accomplishment in every sphere of endeavor, 
while at the same time having due regard for the best 
health of society as a whole. Only thus can it truly be- 
come a government "of the people, by the people and for 
the people." 

I have tried to say four things: First, democracy as 
traditionally defined, has stressed the desire for individual 
freedom as the supreme ideal to be realized. Second, at- 
tempts to realize this ideal are futile in the complexities 
of modern social life. Third, a realistic definition of democ- 
racy will aim at insuring the welfare of the total social 
group through the contribution which the individuals in 
the group can make toward that end. Fourth, in order to 


secure this result democracy practices representative 
government, submission to majority rule, and free edu- 
cational intercourse between individuals in society. 


If these democratic procedures were to be abandoned 
w^hat would be the effect upon religion? 

At present the most outspoken enemies of democracy as 
an operating principle on which to build a civilization are 
the Russian Communists and the German Nazis. Both these 
philosophies glorify regimentation in every sphere ot life; 
the individual is left no freedom to form his own con- 
clusions or to follow the promptings of his own conscience 
even in matters of religion. The opinions of the dictator are 
alone right, while contrary views, whenever or where- 
ever encountered, are to be violently suppressed. Religious 
persons are not granted the privilege of "working out their 
own salvation," as Paul admonished them that they should 
do, under the guidance of the Deity with whom they stiive 
to realize communion in the spiritual sphere. The pure in 
heart are not those who see God with the eye of the soul 
and who hear him utter the still, small voice within the sanc- 
tuary of their own spirits. On the contrary, the only people 
who are tolerated are those who think exactly as the dictator 
thinks and who stand ready if need be to persecute to the 
death anyone who would oppose their opinions. So it hap- 
pens that in its philosophy of state Russian Comjiiunism 
abolishes religion altogether, while Naziism expels or in- 
carcerates all Christian preachers who maintain that con- 
scientious loyalty to God should take precedence over 
obedience to Hitler. 

When either Communistic or Nazi propaganda emerges 
in the United States its fundamental hostility to democratic 
religion is not at the outset likely to be stressed. Other 
aspects of our democratic culture, especially our system 
of government, usually constitutes the principal object of 
attack. Thus at first one may not perceive the inevitable 
logic of this new gospel. But religious people will do well 
to make themselves thoroughly aware of the implications 
involved. Once the principle of dictatorial power in the state 


has been granted leave to operate, there is no aspect of 
society's concerns that will not ultimately be drawn into 
the totalitarian whirlpool. Individual initiative, personal 
preferences, scruples of conscience, spiritual sensitivities, 
worshipful reverence for a supreme Deity, and every other 
private attainment or aspiration of the human soul is either 
completely crushed or is forced to move in a tyrannically 
prescribed channel. If we sow the wind of this new doctrine 
let us remember that some day we shall reap the whirl- 
wind of dictatorial regimentation over every phase of 
our cultural and spiritual life. 

The shortcomings of democracy, even in religion, are 
all too apparent and their recognition may lend specious 
justification to programs of control that seem necessary for 
the maintenance of good order. But one has always to 
beware lest the zeal for desirable supervision may blind one 
to certain inevitable consequences that make the remedy 
worse than the disease. It is true that democracy is indi- 
vidualistic, divisive, often slow in its operations, and hesitant 
about enforcing upon anyone an alleged final authority. It 
has permitted Christianity in America to organize itself 
into some two hundred different and often rival denomina- 
tional groups. Undoubtedly this procedure has resulted in 
much dissipation of energy and has prevented religion from 
presenting a united front in crises where moral and spiri- 
tual values were at stake. Yet it is very doubtful whether mat- 
ters would have been improved by the existence of only one 
American church imperially or monarchically organized 
to speak for the institution without consulting the w'.ll of 
the people. 

Certainly religion must have some organized life. 
It is not simply an individual concern; it is 
also a social phenomenon. In order to live religiously i)eopje 
have to live together not only in their distinctive groups but 
also in their environing communities. Moreover, individuals 
are short-lived in comparison with the evolving cycles of 
the centuries. Therefore it is necessary to build up insti- 
tutional machinery as a device for perpetuating ideals that 
have emerged in the consciousness of inspiring leaders of 


the past and as a means of directing future activities of 
individuals and groups. Organization aims to effect co- 
operative effort, it formulates a statement of principles 
on which the institution rests, it defines rules of procedure 
for the accomplishment of the ends desired, and it reiterates 
the ideals toward the attainment of which the members of 
the organization are urged to aspire. This machinery, one 
might say, constitutes the physical body that enshrines the 
soul of a movement. That is what is meant when we speak 
of the organized church as the body of Christ. 

In the course of time all formal institutions tend to 
become sacred in their own right. Instead of serving as the 
vehicle for transmitting and augmenting spiritual values, 
they are wont to become a restraining or domineering 
power that would lord it over the human spirit. Insti- 
tutionalized religion is no exception to this rule. It too 
frequently happens that the leaven of democracy in religion 
is so thickly overlaid with the crust of traditional dogmas 
and prescriptions that freedom of individual opinion aiid 
action is completely smothered. If democracy in religion 
is to prevail the church as an institution must not be allowed 
to tyrannize over the conduct and ideals of its members. 
Its primary function is to nourish and stimulate, not to 
repress or shackle, the living and thinking of Christians. 
Discipline may need on occasion to be exercised, but this 
is quite secondary to the main purpose of an institution 
that seeks always to exemplify the aims of true democracy. 

Christianity at the outset was emphatically a democratic 
movement whose aim was to quicken the religious impulses 
of every man who entered its fellowship. But in de- 
veloping an institutional mechanism for conserving and 
expanding these spiritual values the church as an organiza- 
tion tended to arrogate to itself regimental rights that 
blurred its original democratic heritage. Perhaps this re- 
pressive disposition manifests itself all too frequently 
even today. The modern church has tremendous value 
as an instrument for solidifying and implementing the 
ideals of its members, but when loyalty to the institution 
is made a substitute for the cultivation of these ideals, or 


when their free operation is forcibly restrained by the 
police power of the organization, the democratic temper 
disappears from religion. It then needs a prophet like 
Micah of old to proclaim that God is not pleased by mere 
ritual or creedal conformity but would have the re- 
ligious man do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly 
with his God. In the same temper Jesus reminded the 
overly zealous Sabbatarians of his day that the sabbath 
was made for man, not man for the sabbath. 

The religious leader occupies a position of great re- 
sponsibility in a democratic society. He is not only a ser- 
vant of the church; he is above all else a physician of the 
souls of men. He will seek for himself the highest measure 
of religious excellence of which his personality is capable. 
In his intelligent apprehension of truth, in his sensitivity 
to spiritual values, and in the rectitude of his conduct he 
will strive to equal and surpass those for whom he min- 
isters. Yet merely by virtue of his office he cannot command 
obedience. Instruction and persuasion are the proper tools 
of his trade, and his authority will be measured by his 
success in eliciting from others a favorable personal reaction 
to his message. Like Paul, he will admit that he has no lord- 
ship over men's faith but seeks only to be a helper of their 
joy. By the slow process of education democratic religion 
leads, but does not drive, men to the attainment of right- 

By the beginning of the present century the democratic 
spirit within the Christianity of America had become 
widespread. The rigidity of older creedal and ecclesiastical 
controls had been extensively relaxed. As individual >iif- 
ferences were more generously tolerated, cooperative en- 
deavors on behalf of the universal Christian enterprise 
multiplied. Denominational rivalries fell into the background 
and a disposition toward union or federation of different 
religious bodies made considerable progress. The horizon 
of the individual Christian enlarged to embrace a much 
wider area than that of one community or one denomination. 
An ecumenical temper began to take form. But the nar- 
rower loyalties and convictions of former times, when 


stretched to cover a wider range of interests, often became 
dangerously attenuated. Herein lay a real peril that to- 
day prompts some well-meaning Christians to doubt the 
efficiency of the democratic emphasis in religion. They la- 
ment its seeming lack of positive convictions and regret its 
failure to enforce authoritative teaching and action. 

The subtle forces that in recent years have tended to 
divert our attention from the liberalism of the democratic 
ideal toward the dogmatism of an external authority did not 
originate in America. They are of foreign origin. The 
totalitarian states of Europe have subjected religion to 
an arbitrary political authority, and if Christianity is 
to resist successfully this secular domination must it not 
elevate the authoritarian principle to the supreme place in 
religion? This was the impelling motive that inspired the 
conferences held at Oxford and Edinburgh in the summer 
of 1937, where efforts were made to define for all Christen- 
dom an authoritative program of action and belief that 
would enable all churches to present a united front against 
the totalitarian states. These states are thoroughly dog- 
matic. They glorify creeds and impose regimentation upon 
all forms of individual liberty, and many Christians see 
no way to resist this secular enemy without adopting his 
tactics. In their attempt to meet this situation some 
Christian leaders at present are advocating the reassertion 
of authoritarianism in religion, the greater submission of 
the individual to an ecclesiastical control, and the acceptance 
of dogma dictated from above by action of some ruling 
body of the church. 

To others of us the proposed remedy seems quite as 
dangerous as the disease. We still have faith in the healing 
virtues of the democratic program. While democracy has 
its shortcomings, they are only incidental to its real 
vitality. One might say of it, as of Paul, that in its apparent 
weakness lies its indomitable strength. It is motivated by 
at least one unshakable conviction, namely, that a tyranical 
dominance by either church or state over the individual's 
conscience cuts the very nerve of all genuine religion. 
Spiritual ideals can be healthfully maintained only as they 


are nourished from within the sanctuary of one's own 

It is not surprising that in times of great stress we 
should become distrustful of the tolerant and slow educa- 
tional processes by which democracy seeks to accomplish 
results. To implement for righteousness the democratic will 
calls for far more strenuous and enduring effort than does 
blind submission to dictatorial powers of a creed or an 
institution. But as one reads history it becomes ever more 
apparent that even God chooses to tutor rather than drive 
mankind in the ways of virtue. An ancient philosopher, 
when asked w^hat his pupils learned from him, replied : "To 
do of their own accord what they might be compelled to 
do by law." This is also the ideal that democracy in re- 
ligion is striving to realize. To enlighten the consciences of 
men, to instill in them loyalty to the noblest ideals, 
to persuade them to heed the inner voice of the spirit, 
are efforts that demand unusual powers of endurance in 
these chaotic times. But for one who adheres to the dem- 
ocratic ideal, superimposed compulsion of any sort in 
religion is at best only a temporary expedient. Permanence 
is insured only by a process of inner regeneration. What a 
man is at heart is what he really is, and a robust religious 
life cannot be ultimately realized under the lash of an 
external authority. 


Dean Spern/s Lectures 

On March 15-20, 1940, Dean Willard L. Sperry of Har- 
vard Divinity School delivered a series of lectures to the stu- 
dent body of Florida Southern College. These lectures are to 
be published as a book by Harper and Brothers in early au- 
tumn. Following is a summary of their content. 

Lecture I: What Do We Mean by Religion? 

We are pledged in these lectures to think about five fa- 
miliar words: Religion, Faith, Prayer, Morals, God. 

In any language the hard words to define are not the 
long words which have been manufactured at a late date; 
they are the old words that have been there from the first — 
elemental words like life, love, tvork. Indeed the simpler the 
word the harder it will be to define since it was born as a 
living thing out of men's primal feelings, rather than as- 
sembled as a machine-made product of reflective thought. 
Therefore, I am not proposing to try to define the words 
which are to be our themes. At the most I shall venture de- 
scriptions of them, one by one, as a man wandering around 
the foot of a mountain might sketch its changing contours 
seen from different angles. Perhaps the sum of these im- 
pressions may give us some intimation of the meaning of the 
whole word. 

The first of our words is "religion." This is an abstract 
word that we have coined for our convenience, to indicate 
certain of our ideals, emotions, attitudes, acts, which seem 
to have a common recurring quality that warrants our brack- 
eting them under a single head. 

The major religions of the world are of long standing 
in history. There has been no new religion of the first mag- 
nitude since the birth of Mohammedanism in the seventh 
century. It is a strange and striking fact that with all our 



modei-n discoveries we have been so lacking in the power to 
"invent" a new religion, and that we are still so dependent 
on the distant past. We can only conclude that if these re- 
ligions were wholly irrelevant to man's needs and wholly 
false to his world they would have passed away long ago. 
We must believe that their amazing will-to-live is something 
more than a professional conspiracy of priests; that it has 
its roots in man's nature and needs. 

In primitive society, the rites of religion served primar- 
ily as a means of consolidating the social unity of the group, 
which without their observance might remain imperfect and 
imperilled. We meet these religious rites most often in con- 
nection with birth, adolescence, sex relations, hunting, plant- 
ing, reaping, war, death, and burial. Even to this day, 
persons who otherwise are wholly indifferent to religion 
•^eem to feel more at ease if they are married in church, if 
their children are duly baptized, and if their dead are con- 
signed to the grave by a minister rather than an undertaker. 
Whatever be true of modern man, it is clear that religion is 
most constantly and characteristically met in primitive so- 
cieties on those occasions when the tribe seeks to reassure 
itself as to its integrity and perpetuity. To scholars in the 
field, this sociological interpretation of the facts yields the 
only truth and the whole truth of religion, 

A second group of scholars, without denying the social 
aspects of religion, is more impressed by man's stubborn be- 
lief that he is somehow or other involved with the powers 
that his cosmic environment discovers to him. They see 
primitive man moving cautiously about "worlds not realized," 
where powers of incalculable energj' have their local habi- 
tations. Religion, so construed, becomes therefore mainly a 
matter of learning how to relate oneself to these elemental 
and often sinister powers that are not oneself. 

We seem to discover from the first two aspects of a re- 
ligion that it has on the one hand a social reference and on 
the other hand a cosmic reference. In general those em- 
phases and that distinction survive and reappear even in the 
most modern interpretations of religion. These things an- 
ticipate the major religious issue of our own time; namely, 


whether religion is a purely social phenomenon, or whether 
it is in some way our attempt to relate ourselves to the uni- 
verse as a whole. Whatever else the religious man may be, 
he is not the solitarj^ unrelated man. He is a man who be- 
lieves that he belongs to something or someone other than 
himself. He has a cause or a concern to which he has given 
himself, or a beloved to whom he has given himself. 

Religion is belonging to something or some one more 
enduring, stronger, and better than yourself. What you be- 
long to, in those terms, is for the purposes of your life, your 
god. Wherever a man is so carried beyond himself whether 
for any other being, or for a cause or for a nation, that his 
personal fate seems to him as nothing in comparison with the 
happiness or triumph of the other, there you have the uni- 
versal basis and structure of religion. Power and perfection 
— are that to which in religion we have given our heart away. 
Every man, we must hope and believe, has somewhere an al- 
legiance that binds him, some disloyality which he would 
rather die than commit. And if you know what this is, then 
you know where his religion lies. 'Where your treasure is' — 
it is a true saying. 

Naziism and communism must be understood primarily 
in the terms of religion. They are movements built around 
ideas of race, blood, and class, which are receiving all the 
passionate devotion that men give to religion, and which 
in turn do for their devotees what religions have always pro- 
fessed to do. How shall we make men of the modern world 
love and serve the cause of internationalism with the same 
zeal which for four hundred years has been given to the re- 
ligions of nationalistic patriotism. 

The prevalence of such religions raises afresh the prob- 
lem of whether religion is primarily a matter of one's social 
reference and adjustments or whether before all else it in- 
volves conscious relationship to a God who is apart from and 
more than our human selves. In his swift and discriminat- 
ing reduction of "all the law and the prophets" to two short 
sentences, Jesus linked love of the neighbor with love of God. 
Ideally the sociological and cosmic references, so far from be- 
ing mutually exclusive, ought each to supplement and con- 


firm the other. But practically, as is the case with all these 
radical antitheses, each one of us inclines in the conduct of 
life towards one or the other. 

In modern America it has been the social aspects of re- 
ligion which have attracted us most and apparently have sat- 
isfied us best. We are a practical people; we understand 
good works better than we understand prayer. Given the 
diversity of our racial and cultural origins the problem of 
organizing neighborliness in the name of religion has been 
sufficiently complex and imperative to monopolize our atten- 
tion. To such a religion in its ideal dimensions we now give 
the name of "humanism." The humanist is not, of course, 
necessarily an atheist; he is agnostic, he merely says that he 
does not know. This religion of humanism, which is in part 
the product of our constantly increasing understanding of 
natural process, and in still greater part the product of a 
conscience that is forever becoming more impatient with the 
world's evils, is not in the main organized in churches. How- 
ever, for all practical purposes it has been the interpretation 
of religion stressed by churches which have grown up within 
liberal democratic societies. Humanism is, for practical pur- 
poses, the working religion of many churches which still go 
on, by force of habit, repeating the old words about a super- 
natural God. 

Religion, by the other interpretation, is before all else a 
matter of a man's relation to God. To my own mind there 
is, for religion, no other single religious issue as important 
as that between humanism and theism. Humanism has not 
so proved the case that it is now possible to believe easily in 
a cosmic religion. If theism has been tried and found want- 
ing, humanism has not yet finally vindicated itself. If the 
believer in God is today hard put to it to find his God in the 
welter of World Wars which seem now to have become epi- 
demic, the humanist is not in much better case. One modern 
interpi-eter of humanism has had the courage to say, "The 
question is no longer whether we can believe in God, but how 
and in what way we can continue to believe in man." The 
sombre prospect which an unequivocal humanism holds out to 
us is that of an overcast afternoon, greying into the darkness 


of a night from which there shall be for humanity no awak- 
ening. It is the prudent reluctance of the humanist to admit 
the conclusion to his logic that enables him to win short-term 
converts to his creed. 

My own faith is that religion is primarily man's thought- 
ful relation to some "Eternity of Thought" in the totality of 
things, and that his world of human relations is a corollary 
and consequence of that prior fact. If I were to put the 
grounds for sociological interpretation of religion in tradi- 
tional terms I should say that all we are brethren, because 
one is our Father, and that in want of that latter belief, 
faith in your brother is harder to realize than easier. 
Lecture II : What is the Meaning of Faith ? 

In a famous letter to Charles Kingsley, Thomas Huxley 
once said, "The longer I live, the more obvious it is to me 
that the most sacred act of a man's life is to say and to feel, 
*I believe such and such to be true.' All the greatest rewards 
and all the heaviest penalties of existence cling about that 

Religion is charged with the custody of life's sacred 
things, and if "to believe" is a sacred act, then faith is ne- 
cessary to religion. Such, indeed, is the common conviction, 
and most of us would agree not merely that religion presup- 
poses faith, but that the attitude and exercise of faith are the 
distinguishing characteristic of religion. 

Within the circle of religion itself the idea antithetical 
to faith is that of doubt. But when we contrast religion with 
the rest of our interests the antithesis to faith is knowledge. 
Unless we are to regard knowledge as being by its very na- 
ture excluded from the concerns of religion, there is no rea- 
son why we should not rejoice at the vast extension of mod- 
ern knowledge. It is, alas, still hard for many pious per- 
sons to realize that whenever we have found a new truth, 
whatever its content, and however that truth may conflict 
with what faith had once believed, we have come so much 
nearer reality, nearer to that God who is the God of all truth. 

We ought not to be afraid of anything that knowledge 
can do to religion; we ought, on the contrary, to rejoice in 
what it does. We should be heartened by those familiar 


words about the goal of religion. "Now we see through a 
glass darkly . . . now I know in part, but then shall I know 
even as also I am known." It is said in the Bible that there 
will be no church in heaven. We are apparently to infer 
that by the time heaven has come, true churches, as institu- 
tions serving the Kingdom of God, will have done their work 
and will thereafter be superfluous. So one might dare to say 
that in heaven there will be no place or need for faith, as our 
way of relating ourselves to the unknown, because all will 
be known at least and faith will have been fulfilled in 
knowledge. Faith seems, therefore, even here and now to 
be an act forever in process of passing over into knowledge. 

The well-known habit of modern science, of disclaiming 
responsibility for life as a whole and restricting itself to lim- 
ited truths of a highly specialized type, is in no small part 
chargeable for the mounting uneasiness with which men as 
a whole are today viewing the sciences. In tTie division of 
functions and labors we may say with entire propriety that 
it is the office of faith to take up the task of trying to relate 
ourselves to our world at the point where scientific knowl- 
edge is compelled to lay it down. 

Faith is the name which we give to our meditative at- 
titude toward the mysteries by which we are surrounded, 
mysteries which are still hidden from us, but from which we 
cannot, whether we would or no, escape. In this sense of the 
word, therefore, science and religion, knowledge and faith, 
do not come into collision and conflict. They meet at a bor- 
der where the known world is forever in process of passing 
over into an unknown world, and where each has at any giv- 
en moment in the history of thought its clearly defined area 
to occupy and its distinctive work to do. 

The general conception of religious faith as being the en- 
deavor to vindicate an hypothesis is one which is perfectly in- 
telligible to science, and which of itself ought to present no 
diflficulties to the scientific mind. Science always approach- 
es facts not yet understood with some advance theory as to 
what they are and how they work. It tries out its hypothe- 
sis to see whether the facts bear them out. It sometimes 
fails, often fails, but again and again it succeeds. The the- 



ory in advance is certainly not knowledge, you can only say 
that it is more akin to faith. So in religion the believer is 
not taking farewell of his reason, or even of the sober sci- 
entific processes of his mind. He is, rather, extending a 
method in which he has learned to have confidence into areas 
where as yet anything like certain verification is not to be 
had soon or easilj\ 

Faith seems to me to be a spiritual adventure in at- 
tempted vindication of its hypotheses: God, goodness, beauty, 
immortality. The adventure may be beyond knowledge, but 
it is not inherently irrational or unreasonable. The man who 
believes has as many initial reasons for believing as the man 
who doubts, and burden of proof is just as much on the man 
who denies as on the man who affirms. 

There is another aspect of faith to which I turn in the 
attempt to distinguish it from the knowledge we get from the 
sciences, and, therefore, to define its distinctive task. It is 
not the business of science to pass moral judgments, to say 
of its subjects that they reveal a better and a worse. That is, 
science has nothing to do with what we call the world of val- 
ues. When it begins to pass what are known as "value- judg- 
ments" it is, given its own premises, out of bounds. Mean- 
while, you and I, who are probably verj^ impure scientists, 
but very puzzled human beings, have to pass value judgments 
and act accordingly. Or take another area, that kind of in- 
stinctive intuitive belief in other men, which we all have to 
have if we are to live with them. So, also, of the ends to 
which one devotes one's life: money, pleasure, power, learn- 
ing, art, philanthropy. In this adventure we have to appeal 
the case from scientific knowledge to other guides and help- 
ers. The artists help us more here, as do the philosophers, 
the prophets, the saints of history. So long as they continue 
to tell us that there are things in the world of more value 
than to eat and drink and be merr^^ because tomorrow we die, 
we cannot ever be quite at rest with that which they tell us 
matters less. 

Faith, then, is in this aspect, a quest for values and a 
passing of values. And religion's claim to distinction lies in 


its bold affirmation that it knows and affirms the greatest 
values in life. It says that to gain the whole world and lose 
one's own soul is not worth while. It says that the greatest 
thing in the world is charity — love — and challenges us to 
prove the contrary. All such pronouncements, and these are 
the characteristic pronouncements of our religion, are judg- 
ments of value passed by faith. 
Lecture III: What is the Meaning of Prayer? 

The true nature of prayer will elude us, if we think of 
it merely as a device for insuring our private safety, comfort, 
and success. If the life of busy and useful action in the 
world may fairly be construed as a sharing of God's work in 
and for the world, then the life of prayer must be the w:hole 
other half of religion, a sharing of the thoughts of God. Noth- 
ing less than this can really satisfy all that the word means. 

Therefore, when a great astronomer said that, in study- 
ing the stars, he was "thinking God's thoughts after him," he 
was describing one whole phase or aspect of prayer. Since 
God's thinking presumably did not stop with the sixth day of 
creation, we may fairly say that there is such a thing as try- 
ing to think God's thoughts with him at this present time. 

These are, of course, bold words; perhaps they are rash. 
Who knows what God thinks? His thoughts, says the 
prophet, are not our thoughts, they are higher than our 
thoughts. To speak of the thoughts and purposes of God 
seems almost presumptuous. How recklessly men have iden- 
tified the will of God with their own prejudices, preferences, 
and passions. Nevertheless, when you have admitted the pre- 
sumption of trying to think God's thoughts after him and 
with him, and the tremendous margin of error which has at- 
tended that effort, the fact remains that you cannot stop men 
from thinking, and from trying to imagine what God is 

Let us admit, then, that the idea of religion requires a 
life of the mind which man shares with God, and let us re- 
vert to our simple description of religion as a matter of a re- 
lationship, as being in this respect a companionship of minds. 
The mere admission of the fact of such a companionship, the 
acknowledgment of its existence, is prayer and is, indeed, the 


basis of all prayer, I sometimes think that the most beauti- 
ful and adequate of all prayers I know, is that which is used 
by the Breton fisherman on the coast of France, "Oh God thy 
sea is so great and my boat is so small." What more can be 
said, what more need be said? 

Those of us who are interested in philosophy often find 
ourselves wondering whether there is any difference between 
philosophy and religion, whether indeed philosophy does not, 
with persons of a reflective frame of mind, subtly replace re- 
ligion. But there is one difference, and that a very impor- 
tiant difference, which has been pointed out by Professor 
Hocking. Philosophy, in so far as it has occasion to refer 
to God, speaks of God as *'he." Religion, on the other hand, 
always speaks to God as "thou." Therefore, whenever you 
find yourself saying "0 God, thou ..." you are a religious 
man, saying his prayers. 

Two antithetical ideas, at opposite poles of the religious 
relation, are manifest in regard to the concept of prayer. 
Magic is the attempt to get God to do our will, mysticism is 
our best endeavor to find and do God's will. The mystic is a 
more religiously mature man than the magician. There are 
many persons who never think of God or say their prayers 
unless they want some outside help for their own projects. 
Por spiritually grow^n-up persons prayer is primarily a men- 
tal and moral discipline by which they attempt to discover 
what the divine affair is, and then to conform to it. This is 
the conception of religion which underlies the familiar words 
of Jesus about losing life and finding it. 

All this thinking, and redirecting of our minds and de- 
sires and wills, belongs properly under the great heading of 
Prayer. Prayer is the whole meditative, thinking, feeling 
side of life kept deliberately open toward God. Praying 
stops only when we close our mental doors and windows 
against God, and w^hen we saj^ stubbornly that we do not wish 
or care to know what God is trying to do and what he would 
like us to do. 

I am certain that most of the difficulties which attach to 
the idea and practice of prayer arise from too meager 
;theories as to what prayer really is. To pray is to keep the 


whole thoughtful part of life open on its Godward side. One 
of the ways to give reality and natui-alness to the idea of 
prayer which I have been proposing is to have the unconven- 
tional courage to say your prayers anywhere, at any time — 
just when you happen to feel like it. 

It is when you say your prayers in so many words that 
what we call the "problem of prayer" arises. It is worth 
while to realize that even among the prayers which we say 
there are many which raise no problems, other than the 
basic problem as to whether we are in any relation whatso- 
ever to a God who "hears" our prayer. We often forget how 
large the non-problematical prayers bulk in our normal 
praying and how few difficulties they present. We should re- 
member in this connection prayers of confession and pen- 
itence, of praise and adoration, and likewise those of thanks- 

The problems arise chiefly in what are technically 
called prayers of petition and intercession. Petition is ask- 
ing God things for ourselves; intercession is asking God 
things for other persons. Let us admit that there is a 
problem here, more often than otherwise felt in times of 
trouble as a poignant personal problem. But let us also 
in all candor admit that it would be a wild world if every 
one of us had the power to get all his petitions and inter- 
cessions answered. The head-on collisions of mutually ex- 
clusive prayers would blow the world to pieces in no time. 

It is quite clear that if man had actually the magical 
power to manipulate nature in behalf of his own de- 
sires and plans, the stability and uniformity of the world, 
which furnish the permanent background and setting for 
human life, would be destroyed. So, also, with the affairs 
of other men. We apparently have not in prayer any se- 
cret means of coercing nature in our own behalf or of 
bending other men to our desire and will. 

If it be true that our relation to God is prior in im- 
portance to all the concrete gains we get from it, then 
unanswered prayers are not reason either for giving up 
praying or losing faith in God. What should persist through 
it all is our steady endeavor to think God's thoughts after 


him, and with him — a keeping of the whole thought- 
ful side of life open toward him. The purest petition for 
ourselves which we can conceive might, therefore, be these 
words of the Psalm, ''Let the words of my mouth and the 
meditations of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, 
O Lord my strength and my redeemer." 

Lecture IV: What is the Meaning of Morals? 

Our moral judgments, in their elementary form, are 
little more than registered approval and disapproval, praise 
and blame. But as the ideas of praise and blame become 
more elaborated they reappear as judgments of right and 
wrong, good and evil. Not a day goes by but we have to 
pass these judgments of right and wrong upon our own 
motives and proposed conduct, as upon the actions of 

Meanwhile, as we grow up and get on, both as indi- 
viduals and as a race, we become less concerned merely to 
avoid doing wrong and more interested to do right. The 
positive rather than the negative side of morality appeals 
to something in us, if you will, to a sublimated adventurer 
or creative artist. It is, thus, the mission of moral ideals 
to point to a goal as yet far beyond us. We all have glimpses 
of sincerity, honesty, kindness, patience that we have not 

We come here, to what is, I think, the most important 
difference between morality and religion. We are familiar 
with the modern person, who in these changing days has 
lost his belief in old religious creeds, and who says: "I 
try to be good, as good as I can be; why do I need religion 
as well?" The answer to this question is reasonably sim- 
ple; the moral struggle and the religious experience are 
qualitatively of two different kinds. In the world of morals 
the goal which you set before yourself is an ideal; that 
is, it is not as yet actual. It has not come to pass as an 
achieved fact. It is something to be attained, fulfilled, real- 
ized. There is a distance between you and it, and even 
as you approach, it will withdraw from you. There is 
therefore, about what we call the moral life a constant 


sense of strain and effort, even the danger of exhaustion 
from over effort. In the religious realm, on the contrary, 
that to which in religion you are united, is just as real as 
you are. Indeed it is more real. However unlike it you may 
be, you love it and you belong to it. You do not think 
yourself good enough to love it and belong to it, but such is 
the nature of your God that in spite of your lack of desert 
he w^elcomes you. 

The question, why do I need a religion if I have a 
moral code, is not easy to answer in a single dogmatic 
sentence. All you can say is that in the course of life we have 
experiences which in kind fall in the religious area rather 
than the moral area. In short, things happen to you in 
life that are not covered by the idea of morality with its 
perpetual straining after the ever-receding ideal which 
forever gives you the slip the better you become and moves 
on ahead of you. 

You find, in this area, as in the world of human re- 
lations, that you have fallen in love with that which is 
true or beautiful or good; and that falling in love in- 
volves you in all the joy and the despair, the humility and 
the exaltation which this complex emotion must always 
breed. I cannot tell you, in so many words, therefore, 
w^hy you need a religion as well as a code of morals. I 
can only tell you that quite apart from, and over and 
above, the moral struggle these other things are likely 
to happen to you, and when they do happen they have 
their own unique quality. When they happen it is the part 
of wisdom to know that you have come within the circle 
of the religious idea. 

There is a theory abroad that mo-;t persvrrs begin life by 
being moral, and after they have attained a certain degree 
of goodness, graduate as it were to religion. If you are good 
you will finally be righteous, so runs the formula. I am in- 
clined to think that life w^orks the other way. The probabil- 
ity is that most persons have experiences which may be 
called qualitatively religious, and then that they purify these 
experiences morally. This certainly seems to be what hap- 
pened in Bible times. The Jews always had a religion of 



sorts, but it was imperfectly moral at the start and it be- 
came morally mature only as the centuries went on. So, 
even at this latest day we are still faced with the problem 
whether we can make the existing religions of the world 
more moral than they now are. In some such prospect lies 
our only hope of the peace of the world. 

The Christian ethic is something other than a handy de- 
vice for oiling the machinery of a frankl^^ materialistic so- 
cial system. The more you read and think about the Gos- 
pels, the more radical their moral teaching seems. How to 
make a cooperative principle work in a society which is set 
up for competition is a moral riddle of the first magnitude. 
The Christian ethic is more radical than we generally real- 
ize. Perhaps this is its strength. 

A Christian is expected to treat the world better than 
it deserves, with the result that the world will become better 
than it had planned to be or would otherwise have been if 
left to the mercy of some cool and calculating goodness which 
takes care never to over-do itself. 

It may well be that something like Christ's gospel of 
love, which is the heart of the Christian ethic, is nearer to 
the deeper truth of nature and history than we are some- 
times able to believe. Personally, I have found my thought 
moving latterly in this direction. I have found it moving 
in this direction because the opposite ethic is patently so sui- 
cidal. No sane person can suppose that the societies con- 
ceived and conducted as are contemporary Russia and Ger- 
many, can permanently survive. They carry within them the 
germs of their own dissolution. 

Lecture V: What is the Meaning of God? 

There are various classical arguments for the existence 
of God and they bear formidable names; there are the cos- 
mological and teleological arguments, which stress on the 
one hand the need of finding some point of departure for 
creation and on the other hand the need of demonstrating a 
normal purpose in the world and some point of ethical arrival 
at history's end. There is also the famous ontological ar- 
gument which says that the very fact that we have the idea 


of God suggests that there must be a reality which corre- 
sponds to that idea, otherwise how did we get the idea? The 
first two of these arguments have always seemed to me less 
interesting than the third. As for the so-called cosmologi- 
cal argument, that has been in the past the one most often in 
men's minds, but the thought of God creating the heavens 
and the earth is not as easy to come by as it was when the 
universe was a smaller affair. Hence many men have turned 
their minds in the other direction and have preached to 
us a God who is to be sought and found at the end of the 
road of history, particularly as that road is conceived of as a 
highway for the human conscience journeying toward a re- 
alization of its moral ideals. But this conception of God the 
goal of life is in some ways open to the same objection which 
can be raised to the elder doctrine of God the creator of all 
things; we may suspect that it is merely a name which we 
give to an end of things we cannot foresee, and which cer- 
tainly we shall not reach for untold millennia of years. 

Religion has always required some conception of God 
more immediate than all this. Therefore, the third of the 
classical arguments for God is the more likely to give us the 
lead which we seek. Not, perhaps in its literal form that the 
fact we have an idea of God requires a reality to match the 
idea — but rather that our human thoughtfulness is not a 
thing by itself without any parallel in the rest of the 

The question which I always find that I am asking my- 
self is this, does all our thinking go on without any real 
parallel or kinship in the universe around? The mind of man 
finds in his world a realm of law. The steady mastery of its 
laws makes his world not merely manageable, but increas- 
ingly intelligible. Does the mind of man impute to the nat- 
ural order something that is not there? If the universe is 
nothing more than an accidental collocation of atoms, it 
seems strange that the sum of these countless accidents all 
along the line should be amenable to reasonable interpreta- 
tion, if they themselves are chaotic and irrational. We say, 
and say properly, that we find the laws of nature, but do we 
make them? If we find them, are they not there in the first 


instance to be found? And if they are there waiting to be 
found, how did they come there? 

I once put the problem this way to a friend who is by 
nature skeptical in these matters, "If the human race were 
to be wiped off this planet tonight by the often prophesied 
collision with some wandering star, and if a similar catas- 
trophe were to overtake other planets where there may be 
other human beings like ourselves — let us say. Mars — 
would the process which we know as thinking have ceased 
utterly in the universe?" And he said, "No, I don't really 
believe that it would. Man's mind cannot be the last wild 
accident in the sum of the cosmic chances. It must be in 
some way part of the whole order of things." "Well," I said, 
"then you have all that I ask at the outset for belief in 

I often find my mind turning to Wordsworth's ascrip- 
tion to God, "Thou, who art an eternity of thought." That is, 
to my mind not merely a suggestive, but a credible phrase. 
It seems to me more likely than otherwise that there is some 
permanent part and place in the totality of things for what 
we know as human thought, with all the affectations and the 
purposes which it embraces. To believe that "man's un- 
conquerable mind" is an isolated accident, without counter- 
part elsewhere in the scheme of things, and destined to come 
to nothing at the last, requires of me a credulity even greater 
than that asked by faith in God. I only conclude that man's 
thinking is a process akin to something going on throughout 
time and space, and that our attempts to achieve some cor- 
respondence to this "eternity of thought" and permanent 
share in it is the basis of religion. I must believe that in 
some such terms there is a God. 

I come now to two or three of the familiar problems 
which attend that faith, particularly in the forms in which 
we most often meet it in the Christian religion. 

Critics of religion are accustomed to indict it and then 
dismiss it on the ground that all our thinking about these 
mysterious matters is "anthropomorphic," i. e., done in the 
terms of human experience. Of that fact there is no doubt; 
it has been recognized from the first. Nevertheless, you 


cannot wholly dispense with anthropomorphism in your 
thought of God, save at the cost of giving up thinking of 
him altogether, and labelling him "the transcendent X," or 
as Mr. Wells does, "the Veiled Being." That is because you 
cannot think any other way than anthropomorphically, /. e., 
in the terms of human experience. Modern physics, as I un- 
derstand it, is at great pains to say that its thinking also is 
anthropomorphic. If you are to deny yourself all anthro- 
pomorphic thinking, you will have to give up thinking alto- 
gether, since thinking has to be done for better or for worse 
with the brains we have and in the terms of our own life. 

We ascribe to God the highest designation and value 
which we know — personality. Let us realize, however, that 
although we know persons, we have no single clear defini- 
tion of personality. Our idea of personality is identified with 
single individuals, and we have little understanding of what 
personality may be apart from individuality. In the mean- 
time the plain fact that we know persons as individuals does 
create for our thought of God a problem, for plainly God 
is not just one more individual like ourselves. But having 
said so much as to the limitations of the idea of personality 
as applied to God, the stubborn fact remains that it is only 
in these terms that we can think of a son to a father. If we 
are to take any figure of speech whatsoever from human life, 
the father-son metaphor is singularly appropriate. If we look 
elsewhere in the world of human relationships for some other 
metaphor to describe the religious life, the relationship which 
has most often been employed is that of husband and wife. 

The doctrine of the Fatherhood of God needs, however, 
in twentieth century America safeguarding and reinterpre- 
tation at one vital point. The American father is generally 
conceived of as a tolerant and convenient person to whom 
one turns as a matter of course for whatever happens to be 
needed at the moment. Indeed the American father is en- 
couraged to be the "pal" of his son and to try to accommo- 
date himself to the son. Now in all these respects the Amer- 
ican father is not the counterpart of the father in a Jewish 
home of two thousand years ago. The Wisdom literature of 
Israel insists constantly that the father is the center of val- 


lies in the home, that whatever worth attaches to the son 
is derived from the father. Unless the doctrine of the Fa- 
therhood of God is to become a blank check for a new kind 
of magic, a check to be filled in by ourselves for whatever 
amount we choose and drawn on the infinite benevolence of 
God, that doctrine needs to recover the reference of filial 
duty which first attached to it. 

Once we have seen the doctrine of the Fatherhood of 
God in something like its original perspective, two or three 
age-old problems appear. Since these problems must al- 
ready have arisen in your minds I am proposing merely to 
enter them here, and I shall hazard two or three suggestions 
as to my own tentative answers, not as being in any way suf- 
ficient, but merely as an indication of certain considerations 
which seem to me to throw some light on these matters. 

I said a few moments ago, that confidence in God's care 
for each one of his children was an axiom on the thought of 
Jesus. But many persons have the greatest difficulty in ad- 
mitting that axiom. Of all the sayings in the Gospels that 
about the falling sparrow is in some ways the hardest to be- 
lieve. Part of our difficulty in believing that God cares for 
individuals should probably be charged against the predom- 
inantly scientific habits of the modern mind. I suggest that 
we get some help at this point by correcting our too common 
thought of God as the infinite scientist by thought of God as 
the infinite artist. 

In so far as we succeed in conceiving of a loving God 
who cares for individuals we create for ourselves a further 
problem. How are we to reconcile the goodness of God with 
the omnipotence of God? Personally I think the only an- 
swer to the problem is this, there must be things which God 
cannot do by his own choice, or perhaps that he is prevented 
from doing. In any case, if you have to choose between the 
omnipotence of God and the goodness of God you will be re- 
ligiously more nearly right if you cast your lot with the 
goodness and let the omnipotence take the consequences. 
Hence the doctrine of a limited or finite God has been much 
the fashion in recent years. Let us remember that this 
idea of limited God springs not from a loss of religious faith, 


but is prompted by that kind of faith which is concerned 
above all else to defend the principle of goodness in things. 

If we decide to cast our religious lot with the goodness 
of God rather than his omnipotence, we are then confronted 
at once by the most stubborn of all the problems known to 
religion, the problem of evil. I think that most of us, at this 
stage of history, have begun to learn that many of the mis- 
eries from which we suffer, at least in their most poignant 
and cruel forms, are of our own human devising. They are 
the tragic consequence of an abuse of human freedom. 

I have not attempted to deal with any particular form 
of revealed religion. Christianity, as I see it, takes up and 
carries on whatever sincere quests for God any man makes, 
under any conditions, and concedes the truth of whatever 
insights he may have sincerely achieved. Christianit.v does 
not deny the intimations of God which all of us get constant- 
ly from a hundred sources, science, art, history, and the like- 
But it does interpret and mature them. 

The Florida School of Religion 

In the Journal of Religion for April, 1940, Dean E. C. 
Colwell of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago 
has a suggestive article on the topic "Toward a Better The- 
ological Education." He points out the confusion that pre- 
vails at present due to the blending of two distinct aims in 
the program of the theological schools. They undertake to 
give men a vocational preparation for the ministry as a pro- 
fession, and they also represent themselves as graduate 
schools engaged in the task of research. In their capacity 
as professional schools they confer the Bachelor of Divinity 
degree, and as graduate schools they grant a Master of Arts 
or Doctor of Philosophy or some similar degree. 

First, we are told, when a seminary tries to be a gradu- 
ate school it diminishes its significance for professional 
training. Aping the graduate program, the seminaries set 
up a list of largely unrelated courses in each of which the 
emphasis falls upon the acquisition of minutiae pertinent 
to scholarly research and not upon functional equipment for- 


the ministerial profession. For example, the detailed infor- 
mation which the student laboriously assembles about date, 
authorship and critical analysis of biblical books, or the 
word-for-word exegesis of texts, lays a foundation for re- 
search but is largely useless in the present-day practical 
ministry. Yet in the average seminary this type of course 
claims perhaps two-thirds of the student's time. The remedy 
suggested is that the seminaries divest themselves completely 
of the graduate pattern and procedure, and confer no degree 
except that of Bachelor of Divinity. 

A second significant suggestion is that professional 
study should begin with the completion of the junior col- 
lege. Thus the requirement of a Bachelor of Arts degree 
for admission to the seminary would be eliminated and the 
Bachelor of Divinity degree would become co-ordinate with 
the Bachelor of Arts but would involve three rather than 
two years of study beyond the junior college and one year 
of internship. The first year would be given up to a study 
of the development of the Hebrew and Christian religions, 
and the second year to a study of the contemporary w^orld in 
which the minister must do his work. In the third year the 
student would devote all of his time to the work of some 
church under the direction of an experienced pastor. The 
fourth year would be spent at the seminary where the stu- 
dent would follow up lines of personal interest under the 
guidance of a counselor. 

While these final proposals sound like a counsel of per- 
fection, the criticisms that are passed upon current practice 
are undoubtedly pertinent. Excepting for the addition of 
one or two new subjects, the curricula of the seminaries are 
still pretty much what they were a century or more ago, 
when these institutions were first established. At that time 
the course of study prepared the minister for the specific 
task he had to perform in that day. But in the meantime 
his functions have radically changed, while the program for 
his professional training has remained almost static. A rad- 
ical revision of seminary instruction has for some time been 

In this connection a kindred issue might be raised. Is 


there not a third interest that ought to be recognized? In 
addition to the professional and the research types of activity, 
may not religion be studied as a cultural discipline? This is 
the purpose underlying the School of Religion recently es- 
tablished in Lakeland, Florida, and under whose auspices 
this journal called Religion in the Making, is issued. It 
seeks to induce college students to pursue the study of re- 
ligion for intelligent and cultural ends and provides for a 
year of graduate study leading to the degree of Master of 
Ai'ts. It does not assume that graduate study is restricted to 
the task of research scholarship, but that it may include a 
higher degree of cultural attainment than is necessary for a 
Bachelor of Arts degree and may be fittingly recognized by 
the granting of a Master's degree. It thus differentiates be- 
tween this degree and a professional Bachelor of Divinity 
o.i the one hand, and the Doctor of Philosophy as the prop- 
er credential of research, on the other hand. 

The purpose and program of the School of Religion are 
indicated by the following radio broadcast given on January 
31, 1940. Students asked the questions and Shirley Jack- 
son Case, the dean of the School, gave the answers. 

Qucf^tion 1 : Is it not the business of the churches to 
teach religion, and therefore are not courses in this subject 
out of place in a college curriculum? 

Ansiver 1 : This question is quite proper and timely. 
Even our college instructors in religion have not always 
clarified their own thinking on this issue. They b^ve tend- 
ed to confuse two purposes that should have been kept dis- 
tinct. One aim might be to persuade people to adopt and 
pursue the religious way of life. This is also the chief pur- 
pose of the churches. It is what we mean when we use the 
term evangelism in its broadest sense. The college teacher 
of religion may also make this his main task and may so 
order his instruction as to effect the evangelization of his 
students. His classroom then becomes a miniature church 
and the teacher's desk a humble pulpit. He conducts a sin- 
cere propaganda on behalf of religious living, or on behalf 
of the beliefs and ideals of his own particular type of church 
or denomination. 


Valuable as such efforts are in the proper place, they 
are contrary to the educational ideal that prevails in the 
modern college classroom. Its purpose is enlightenment 
rather than propaganda. The aim of the teacher is to im- 
part intelligent information rather tha7i to stimulate parti- 
san loyalties. Courses in government, for example, are de- 
signed to give students an open-minded awareness of the 
facts and problems involved, and not to persuade them to 
vote either the democratic or the republican ticket. And 
so in every other area of college education the fundamental 
aim is to increase intelligence, to broaden mental horizons, 
and thus to prepare youth to face more wisely and efficiently 
the concrete problems of life. So the college teacher of re- 
ligion ought to aim primarily to make his students intelligent 
about religion. If, incidentally, this instruction leads them 
to pursue more diligently the religious way of life, that is 
all to the good. But enlightenment rather than persuasion 
is the function of the college classroom. 

Question 2: Granting that enlightenment is the funda- 
mental aim of college courses in religion, is it not true that 
such courses should be required only for students who expect 
to become ministers of the churches? 

Ansiver 2 : You have raised a question that deserves 
careful consideration. It is only one aspect of the larger 
problem of how extensively required courses should be in- 
cluded in the total college program. If it is assumed that 
the purpose of college instruction is to make the youth in- 
telligently at home in our modern world, then it is apparent 
that they should be made familiar with the most conspic- 
uous phases of contemporary civilization. Ability to use the 
English language, acquaintance with the sciences, a knov/1- 
edge of the social and economic factors that enter into the 
constitution of present-day ways of living, all are indispen- 
sable marks of the educated man and are studies suitably 
required in most of our colleges. 

Religion, on the other hand, has nowadays often been 
relegated to the status of an elective in the college cur- 
riculum. It is thought needful only for students who have 
an especial interest in the subject and is unnecessary for a 


good general education. As a result, many persons who 
count themselves well-educated are woefully ignorant about 
religion as it persists and functions in our modern cul- 
ture. Such persons are not aware that our entire educa- 
tional system is itself largely a child of the church. They 
have no understanding of why it is that every community 
contains many church buildings and that a substantial part 
of our economic resources are administered by these ec- 
clesiastical institutions. In fact, American culture is dis- 
tinctly a product of religious influences that require as 
much studious attention for their understanding as do any 
other subjects in the college curriculum. Required courses 
in religion, if their aim is to enlighten the student rather 
than to evangelize him, are no more out of place in a gen- 
eral education than are similar requirements in English, 
science, or any other fundamental item in our modei'n civiliza- 
tion. The purpose in each case is to lay a broad cultural 
foundation for an intelligent life. This type of study of re- 
ligion no more presupposes preparation for a ministerial 
career than an elementary course in mathematics or in 
biology or in chemistry implies that one will enter the engi- 
neering or medical profession. 

Question 3: Does not the School of Religion give also 
a more advanced type of instruction leading beyond the 
bachelor's degree to the degree of Master of Arts? 

Ansjrer 3: Yes indeed, provision is made for approx- 
imately one year of graduate work in the field of religion 
which, when completed in a creditable manner, will secure 
a Master of Arts degree. But before receiving this degree 
one must have obtained a bachelor's degree, or its academic 
equivalent, from an accredited college. Yet it is true that 
while working for the bachelor's degree a student who has 
the necessary time and energy may take extra courses 
that he can later use as credit toward the master's degree. 
In other words, this degree is conferred simply on the 
basis of the quality and quantity of the student's knowl- 
edge, without reference to any specified length of time that 
must be spent in school. One student might complete the 
necessary work in six months, while another might re- 


quire a year or more for its accomplishment. 

Question 4: Is this master's degree designed only for 
ministerial students, or is it intended to serve a wider range 
of interests? 

Answer 4: In setting up the curriculum of the School 
of Religion we have had in mind the needs of all persons 
interested in acquiring knowledge about religion. One might 
wish to use this knowledge for personal satisfaction, or 
for helping in the work of some church or community, 
while one is regularly engaged in some secular calling. 
The churches are sorely in need of intelligent lay workers, 
and the School of Religion offers them an opportunity 
to secure the preparation they need. Another group which 
it has definitely in mind is students who plan to make 
the ministry their profession. It offers them a series of 
courses that provide the fundamentals of knowledge and 
skill for the successful career of the preacher. And still a 
third group whom we seek to help are men already in the 
ministry who desire guidance in further study and wish 
to improve their academic standing bj^ acquiring a master's 

Question 5: In the announcements of the School of 
Religion reference is made to two types of instruction, one 
called formal and the other informal. What is meant by 
these terms ? 

Answer 5 : By formal instruction we mean the ordinary 
type of college classroom exercise where students accumulate 
credit by attending classes each day, reporting on assign- 
ments, and the like. The School of Religion offers a number 
of such courses. But it supplements these by another type 
of instruction in which there are no class exercises of the 
regular sort. Each student comes personally under the 
direction of the instructor by whom he is assigned work to 
be carried on by himself. This method of teaching is 
designed to stimulate the student to cultivate habits of 
study on his own account and skill in mastering the litera- 
ture on the subject. In each course he will be provided with 
a syllabus indicating the main lines to be pursued, the 
general method of study, the distinctive features of the 


several books to be read, the chief problems to engage his 
attention in the acquisition of knowledge, and the specific 
issues that invite his reflective thinking and judgment. In 
other words, the student is encouraged to educate him- 
self with as little or as much assistance as he may need 
from the instructor. 

The advantages of this informal type of instruction 
may not, at first sight, be fully appreciated. College students 
are so accustomed to receive their education ready-made 
from instructors that rarely have habits of self-education 
been acquired in school, with the result that after one 
leaves school the process of education ceases. The informal 
type of instruction is designed to prevent this calamity by 
initiating students into the processes of self-education 
while they are still in school ; or to teach this art to others 
who have already completed their college work and wish to 
pursue advanced studies. Again, all of the informally con- 
ducted courses are available each term according to the 
needs of the individual student. His progress in a chosen 
area of study does not need to be held up for three or six 
months until a formal course comes around again in the 
teaching program. In order to insure the success of this 
manner of instruction the student must be seriously in- 
terested in his work, and there must be periodic consulta- 
tions between pupil and teacher either in person or by cor- 
respondence, as a means of checking up on the student's 
progress and furnishing such guidance as he may need 
in the pursuit of his work. Furthermore, this method 
makes it possible for one to progress rapidly or slowly 
toward a degree according to one's tastes and needs. 


the ministerial profession. For example, the detailed infor- 
mation which the student laboriously assembles about date, 
authorship and critical analysis of biblical books, or the 
word-for-word exegesis of texts, lays a foundation for re- 
search but is largely useless in the present-day practical 
ministry. Yet in the average seminary this type of course 
claims perhaps two-thirds of the student's time. The remedy 
suggested is that the seminaries divest themselves completely 
of the graduate pattern and procedure, and confer no degree 
except that of Bachelor of Divinity. 

A second significant suggestion is that professional 
study should begin with the completion of the junior col- 
lege. Thus the requirement of a Bachelor of Arts degree 
for admission to the seminary would be eliminated and the 
Bachelor of Divinity degree would become co-ordinate with 
the Bachelor of Arts but would involve three rather than 
two years of study beyond the junior college and one year 
of internship. The first year would be given up to a study 
of the development of the Hebrew and Christian religions, 
and the second year to a study of the contemporary world in 
which the minister must do his work. In the third year the 
student would devote all of his time to the work of some 
church under the direction of an experienced pastor. The 
fourth year would be spent at the seminary where the stu- 
dent would follow up lines of personal interest under the 
guidance of a counselor. 

While these final proposals sound like a counsel of per- 
fection, the criticisms that are passed upon current practice 
are undoubtedly pertinent. Excepting for the addition of 
one or two new subjects, the curricula of the seminaries are 
still pretty much what they were a century or more ago, 
when these institutions were first established. At that time 
the course of study prepared the minister for the specific 
task he had to perform in that day. But in the meantime 
his functions have radically changed, while the program for 
his professional training has remained almost static. A rad- 
ical revision of seminary instruction has for some time been 

In this connection a kindred issue might be raised. Is 


there not a third interest that ought to be recognized? In 
addition to the professional and the research types of activity, 
may not religion be studied as a cultural discipline? This is 
the purpose underlying the School of Religion recently es- 
tablished in Lakeland, Florida, and under whose auspices 
this journal called Religion in the Making, is issued. It 
seeks to induce college students to pursue the study of re- 
ligion for intelligent and cultural ends and provides for a 
year of graduate study leading to the degree of Master of 
Ai'ts. It does not assume that graduate study is restricted to 
the task of research scholarship, but that it may include a 
higher degree of cultural attainment than is necessary for a 
Bachelor of Arts degree and may be fittingly recognized by 
the granting of a Master's degree. It thus differentiates be- 
tween this degree and a professional Bachelor of Divinity 
0.1 the one hand, and the Doctor of Philosophy as the prop- 
er credential of research, on the other hand. 

The purpose and program of the School of Religion are 
indicated by the following radio broadcast given on January 
31, 1940. Students asked the questions and Shirley Jack- 
son Case, the dean of the School, gave the answers. 

Question 1 : Is it not the business of the churches to 
teach religion, and therefore are not courses in this subject 
out of place in a college curriculum? 

Ansiver 1 : This question is quite proper and timely. 
Even our college instructors in religion have not always 
clarified their own thinking on this issue. They bave tend- 
ed to confuse two purposes that should have been kept dis- 
tinct. One aim might be to persuade people to adopt and 
pursue the religious way of life. This is also the chief pur- 
pose of the churches. It is what we mean when we use the 
term evangelism in its broadest sense. The college teacher 
of religion may also make this his main task and may so 
order his instruction as to effect the evangelization of his 
students. His classroom then becomes a miniature church 
and the teacher's desk a humble pulpit. He conducts a sin- 
cere propaganda on behalf of religious living, or on behalf 
of the beliefs and ideals of his own particular type of church 
or denomination. 


these tributaries. In addition to such classical types the 
author gives a brief treatment of some of the more promis- 
ing contemporary currents. These are considered to be the 
religious views of James, Hocking, S. Alexander, White- 
head, and Bergson ; and the recent movements of Barthian- 
ism and the "New Nationalism." The book is concluded 
with a summary of what seems to be the leading issues or 
unsolved problems of the religious movements as they are 
known today. 

The reader will clearly see the magnitude of Mr. Burtt's 
task. It is likely to be inferred that such an attempt is 
too bold, especially since the book is normal in size. Yet, 
if the reader believes in a sort of microscopic method of 
dealing with ideas, that is, if the reader believes that the 
bare outlines of a system should be given "writ in large," so 
to speak, with a view to the inner workings of the struc- 
tures, then he will find his respect high. There is likely 
to be a class of professional scholars in philosophy and 
religion who will underestimate the value of the book from 
this angle. For all laitj^ however, the work should be 
found exceedingly valuable. It is not to be inferred that 
the sole worth of the volume is to be found in its outline 
qualities. It is filled with valuable factual material. There 
will be readers who will find the work very fruitful as a 
"spring board" from which to push deeper into the depths 
of religious materials. To this end the book contains a 
bibliography extensive enough to be of aid in further re- 
search that might be desirable. 

This review will make no attempt to explicitly evaluate 
and criticise the contents of the book. It will be well to 
leave that task to the reader. It would hardly seem fair 
to be other than objective in passing opinion upon 
so objective a book. 

A. R. Turquette 

Theory of Valuation. By John Dewey. (International En- 
cyclopedia of Unified Science, Vol. 11, No. 4) Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1939. 67 pages. $1.00. 

The "problem of value" has exhibited great promi- 


nence in recent years, both as a field of interest unto itself 
and in relation to other fields. It is concerned with the 
task of unfolding the nature and meaning of what human be- 
ings assert to be valuable. Theories have ranged from one 
extreme to another in attempting to solve this piV'blem. 
These extremes are represented on the one hand by the identi- 
fication of value with desire as a datum of human ex- 
istence, and on the other by the conception of vaiii'js as 
ends-in-themselves totally apart from human desii'e. The 
former theory reduces value to the level of complete rel- 
ativity, while the latter pictures value as exhausted by cer- 
tain fixed a prioii standards of reason. 

In the present monograph Dewey criticises both of 
these extreme theories as inadequate. The first makes value 
so much a matter of biological impulse that the whole 
problem degenerates into chaos, contrary to the actual 
status of human affairs. The second, or the a priori theory, 
renders values so absolute that it fails to take particular 
situations into account and tends to foster class interests. 
Above all such a theory offers no way of tying down val- 
ues to the realm of empirical matter-of-fact. Dewey is in- 
terested in avoiding both the chaos of relativism and the 
absolutism of rationalism. He feels that this will be pos- 
sible if it can be shown tliat propositions about values 
are empirically verifiable in precisely the same way that 
propositions about physical phenomena are verifiable in 
such sciences as physics and chemistry. 

The major argument of the monograph is concerned 
with the demonstration of the possibility of verifying em- 
pirically value-propositions. This is accomplished by viewing 
values not as desires or ends-in-themselves, but as modes 
of behavior in which organism and environment are inter- 
active. Under this view "ends" become forms of co-ordinated 
action, and "means" the specific content which makes this 
co-ordination possible. Thus, there is a continuum of means 
and ends which makes their separation impossible and in 
terms of which all valuation draws its meaning as em- 
pirically verifiable. 

A conception of valuation such as this is obviously 


an extension of Dewey's general pragmatic view into the 
field of value. The extension, as would be expected, is 
well executed. In the light of present knowledge it seems 
that one is forced to follow Dewey, at least, in the con- 
tention that if value-propositions are to be empirically veri- 
fiable, then valuation must be placed upon a behavioral 
basis in which the means-end continuum operates. But one 
is forced to ask: Does this exhaust the field of value? If 
so, then how is this to be demonstrated conclusively? If 
not, how is the field to be delimited, and what relationship 
can be said to exist between the distinguished parts? Of 
course, a brief monograph cannot be expected to solve all 
problems. These are simply questions which are likely to 
arise and which the monograph leaves unanswered. 

A. R. Turquette 

Religion for Free Minds. By Julius Seelye Bixler. New York : 
Harper & Brothers, 1939. 247 pages. $2.50. 

To the reflective mind the present world offers the 
spectacle of blind force undermining the decisions of rea- 
son. This is, as it were, an age wherein the battle ax is 
taxing the keen steel of the saber to its remotest limits. 
Witness the philosophies of force which grip the political 
world, the psychologies of impulse which dominate the 
regions of personalities and their relationships to one an- 
other, and finally, the influx of a theology of act and 
will in the garb of Barthianism. These are but a small 
portion of the representatives of irrationalism which pop- 
ulate contemporary times. Prophets of Reason have been 
alarmed by this array of facts for some time, but they 
have been hesitant in raising their voices. This has been 
due in all probability to two factors : In the first place, 
reason strives for objectivity and tends to postpone action 
until the facts are complete. Secondly, reasonable minds 
have been stunned by the encounter of brute realities which 
they felt had been rallied from the field. It seems now that 
sufficient time has passed to present human intelligence 
with data enough upon which to work, and to relax the 
shock of the original stun. It is not surprising, then, that 



the Prophets of Reason should begin to see the fog lifting 
and, in response to the light beyond, grumble as a pre- 
requisite to a clear cool voice which wishes to be heard. 

Religion for Free Minds is a product of a Prophet of 
Reason in the position of witnessing the fog as it begins 
to lift. A voice is heard, but as yet it does not ring clear 
and cool. But, it is a voice which will be heard, and is 
likely to be among the group that will mark the way. 

Mr. Bixler identifies the voice of reason with liberal- 
ism. He contends, then, that the hope of the liberal is 
to be found in a re-examination of his position in the 
light of modern irrationalism. In other words to transcend 
irrationalism it is necessary to live it through. Such an 
approach forces the liberal to reassert the significance of 
dualism and process. The evolutionary impulse of nature 
must be respected, or the mind is deluded. This, however, 
is half-truth. 

The real blooms forth when and only when the con- 
cepts which direct and give meaning to the surgings of 
nature are brought into prominence. Blank impulse is 
chaos. It is too easy to conclude from this that the world is 
split into halves. The dualism is simply a result of em- 
phasis which arises from the all-important technique of 
discrimination. The real is progressive and plurality be- 
comes unity in the actions of men striving for good ends. 

What meaning can be given to such ends? The all- 
important problem becomes one of value, then, and it 
is here that Bixler grounds his theology. The foundation 
is justified by an historical appeal, and a more search- 
ing analysis of present issues. One finds in William James 
the pioneer from which progress through Santayana, 
Dewey, and Royce is made to the discovery of the values 
of beauty, goodness, and truth respectively. All recognized 
implicitly the role of dualism, process, and value. They 
are brought together in Mr. Bixler's synthesis and present 
perplexities are clarified in the light of this synthesis. Re- 
ligion, as sensitiveness to real values which produce con- 
structive human action, plays a central part in the life 
of the new liberalism. It is in fact the spring which holds 


together the opposite poles of the real. For social and in- 
dividual effectiveness, then, liberalism must function 
through religion. This calls for a program in religiou;^ 
education. Bixler concludes the book with a consideration of 
the implications of his analysis for a reform in religious 

Human intelligence cannot but feel that Bixler is 
pointing in the right direction. As an early voice he merely 
gives hints and suggestions for progress. The breadth of 
his treatment leaves many dangling ends, and the surface 
is spread but the heart is not reached. Nevertheless, this 
book is a valuable stimulus to hasten the swing from ir- 
rationalism. For a clear picture and a stable voice to 
make the swing decisive, the future must bring disciples 
who, following Bixler, have progressed beyond his footsteps. 

A. R. Turquette 

Christianity Goes To Press. By Edgar J. Goodspeed. New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 115 pages. $1.50. 

This book consists of four popular lectures delivered 
at the University of Virginia in October, 1939. They are 
eminently readable. The literary form is so attractive and 
the text is so free from the jargon of the scholar's 
work-shop that the proverbial wayfaring man need 
have no fear of traversing these pages. Readers who happen 
to be familiar with Dr. Goodspeed's earlier books may 
lament the lack of new data in the present volume. But the 
old materials are clothed in a new and attractive dress. 
An old story entertainingly retold, when it is a story worth 
telling, has a distinct pedagogical value. Effective teaching 
has to cultivate the art of skilful repetition, and few modern 
authors are so successful as Dr. Goodspeed in exploiting 
a thrice-told tale. 

The first lecture presents an appreciative exposition 
of the letters of Paul as a body of private correspondence 
spontaneously springing out of vital situations in the 
apostle's life and written with no thought of general cir- 
culation or of publication for the benefit of posterity. The 
second lecture describes the publishing business in the 


ancient world and the earliest appearance of individual 
Christian writings, particularly the issuance of the two- 
roll work, Luke-Acts. Lecture three propounds the hypoth- 
esis that the appearance of Luke-Acts awakened an interest 
in assembling Paul's letters, for which the collector wrote 
as a preface the document that we now call the epistle to 
the Ephesians. This, further, was the beginning of an in- 
terest that inspired the publication of the Book of Revela- 
tion and subsequent New Testament writings. Earlier in 
the second century the four gospels are thought to have 
been published together in a leaf-book which presently sup- 
planted the earlier use of book-rolls. The fourth lecture 
takes the remaining period in a single stride from the mid- 
dle of the second century to the present day. It is a 
rapidly descriptive sketch M'hich lacks the unity of any 
novel hypothesis such as is advocated in Lecture III. 

It was well worth while to call attention to the in- 
fluence which the publication of its religious literature 
has exerted in the history of Christianity and it is especially 
fortunate that this task should have been performed by 
an author whose mastery of the material and whose skill 
in its interpretation leaves nothing further to be desired. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom. By Frederick C. Grant. New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 204 pages. $2.00. 

For one who is not familiar with the most recent 
phases of critical study of the gospels this will not be an 
easy book to read. Yet it must be read and pondered by 
everyone who wants to think seriously and intelligently 
about Jesus and his religious message. So much that is 
written about Jesus springs spontaneously out of reverence 
for him, rather than from the laborious search for de- 
pendable historical information, that the reading public 
is quite unprepared for a book like Dr. Grant's, His ap- 
preciation of Jesus is no less keen and reverential than that of 
the most devout disciple, but it is a thoroughly intel- 
ligent appreciation built upon the results of strenuous 
research extending over many years of diligent reflection 
upon the sources of our historical knowledge. 


Unless one is a specialist in gospel criticism it might 
be well at the outset to read Chapters V — VIII and then 
when interest, or perhaps even astonishment, has been 
awakened to turn back for more careful study of the 
earlier chapters of the book in order to appreciate the 
solid foundations upon which the later chapters actually 

The key to the author's method is his whole-hearted 
adoption of the social-historical approach to the subject. 
Instead of starting inquiry with the exegesis of gospel 
texts he seeks to recover a picture of the life-situation 
within early Christianity that produced the growing gospel 
tradition. This tradition arose as a means of making the 
significance of Jesus adequate for the needs of his later 
disciples. Consequently the gospels present an interpreta- 
tive rather than a simon-pure historical portrait of Jesus. 
One must peel off this interpretative shell in order to 
recover the historical kernel that it envelopes. In the 
second place the approach to Jesus should be made, 
not from the point of view of late Christian beliefs about 
his person, but from the socio-religious life of Palestine 
in which Jesus vitally participated. For a long time it has 
seemed to some of us that this is the only scientifically 
dependable procedure for a historian to adopt, and Dr. 
Grant's espousal of the method gives an epoch-making 
character to his book. 

The positive result of this inquiry is a life-like por- 
trait of Jesus as a uniquely religious person who, like 
the prophets in ancient Israel, sacrificed himself to the 
task of calling his contemporaries back to genuine worship 
and service of God. Jesus indulged in no fanciful spec- 
ulations about the end of the world. He had no sympathy 
with the current Palestinian spirit of revolt against 
Rome, and he was not concerned with those questions 
about his own official messiahship that proved so en- 
grossing to his later followers. Jesus was preeminently a 
religious person in the best Jewish sense of that term. That 
is to say, in him ancient prophetism was revived and came 
to its full flower. 


Later speculations by the disciples about the dignity 
and officialdom of Jesus were a perfectly natural — and 
for them a justifiable and essential — result which stem- 
med from the resurrection faith rather than from the actual 
teaching of Jesus. But these speculations are not there- 
fore to be regarded as worthless errors. On the contrary, 
they were sincere yet inadequate efforts to evaluate 
in the concrete language of creedal formulations the worth 
of Jesus' life and message for posterity. And this value, 
thinks Dr. Grant, is only enhanced by recovering a truer 
historical picture of the life, character and teaching of 
Jesus whose supreme concern for himself and liis con- 
temporaries was complete obedience to the divine will and 
a life of perfect union with God. This was Jesus' "Gospel 
of the Kingdom." 

Understanding the Parables of Our Lord. By Albert E. 
Barnett. Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1940. 223 pages. $2.00. 

Dr. Barnett's study on the parables is an excellent 
piece of work. It is marked by insight, discrimination and 
sobriety, as well as by careful scholarship. The subject 
was by no means an easy one with which to deal. Parables 
occupy a conspicuous place in each of the first thi'ee 
gospels' reports of the teaching of Jesus, but on closer 
examination one soon discovers that no two gospels agree in 
the number of parables reported and occasionally the 
same parable when used by two evangelists is made to 
teach different lessons. And how many narratives should 
be called true parables, as distinct from myths, allegories 
or fables, is sometimes a debatable question. 

Amid this confusion Dr. Barnett has chosen a definite 
course of procedure and has followed it strictly to the 
end. First, he decides that forty-three incidents reported 
in the gospels deserve the name of true parables. Follow- 
ing the gospel order he takes each of these, printing the 
parallel accounts side by side when they occur in more than 
one gospel, and discusses successively four topics as follows: 
(1) What is the relation of the parable to the context in 
which it now stands in the gospel or gospels by which it 


is reported? (2) What was the central meaning of the 
parable as used by the evangelist in the message he wished 
to convey to his readers? (3) What explanations are need- 
ed to clarify the imagery and concepts of the parable? 
(4) And what was its probable meaning in the original 
context of the ministry of Jesus, if it is to be assumed 
that it was a genuine part of his teaching? 

The first three of these queries are answered with 
sufficient clearness but the fourth is less adequately treated. 
The probable meaning for Jesus is suggested, in the light 
of the context of his life, but why this should have been 
his meaning is assumed rather than proved. Perhaps the 
author recognized that any attempt to deal critically and 
in detail with this highly controversial problem would 
have diverted him from the main purpose that he designed 
his book to serve. As he says in his preface, he is pri- 
marily concerned to set forth the values of the parables 
for religious education and evangelism. Certainly the 
gospel parables are rich in these values, irrespective of 
the question of whether they were actually spoken by 
Jesus or were put into his mouth by a sincere Christian 
evangelist who believed that they represent what Jesus 
M'ould have said had he been facing the task that con- 
fronted the evangelist. If the parables are prized, as cer- 
tainly they should be, for the self-attesting quality of the 
religious message they teach, uncertainty as to whether 
in every instance they were actually uttered by Jesus need 
not deter us from availing ourselves of their practical 

This book should prove eminently serviceable for 
preachers and teachers who wish to use the parables intel- 
ligently and profitably for religious purposes in modern 

The Human Enterprise: An Attempt to Relate Philosophy 
to Life. By M. C. Otto. New York : F. S. Crofts & Co., 1940. 
385 pages. $2.00. 

Here is humanism at its best. The philosopher talks to 
the plain man in language that the latter can easily under- 


stand. And the subject-matter embraces those phases of 
thought and action with which intelHgent people in gen- 
eral find themselves constantly concerned. This is a 
philosophy that begins on the strictly human level, seeks 
reality in the concrete processes of living, views 
truth as a genuinely human product, and finds values 
emerging out of man's experiences. The origin of moral and 
spiritual ideals is not traced to any transcendental realm 
from which they are pulled down as norms to be super- 
imposed upon the mundane scene. On the contrary, their 
generative energy is thought to belong on the strictly 
human level. 

The central aim of the book is to encourage man to cul- 
tivate the more abundant life as this may be diverselj^ en- 
visaged bj'' every human being. If this goal is to be reached 
r.ankind must be delivered from various traditional habits 
of thinking inherited from earlier times before the spirit 
of science emerged and philosophers learned to concern them- 
selves primarily with interests and attitudes engendered by 
the actual conditions of present-day living. This is the level 
on which the problems of life emerge and is the scene upon 
which their solution must be sought. The popular way in 
which the subject is treated may be judged from certain of 
of the chapter headings, such as "Philosophy in Shirt 
Sleeves," "New Times— New Ideals," "Reality," "Man," 
"Science and Man," "The Two Atheisms," "The Existence of 
God," and "Walk Together Children." The language of the 
book is exceedingly simple for a treatise on philosophy and 
the author writes a charming style. He does not indulge in 
controversial debates with opponents but expounds con- 
structively his own particular type of opinion. 

In these days of discouragement regarding the capac- 
ity of mankind to build a worthy civilization it is refresh- 
ing to read a book that recognizes, or even idealizes, the na- 
tive capacity of man for building a better life. Professor 
Otto encourages us to dream dreams, if we supplement the 
dream with a sincere endeavor to convert it into a reality. 
And he believes this to be the only and ultimate reality with 
which mankind should be essentially concerned. 


Philo and the Oral Law: The Philonic Interpretation of 
Biblical Law in Relation to the Palestinian Halakah. By 
Samuel Belkin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940. 
292 pages. $3.50. 

This is a scholar's book. But anyone interested in Ju- 
daism and first-century Christianity will find the volume in- 
dispensable for his studies. Philo, the famous Jewish schol- 
ar of Alexandria, whose importance for early Christianity 
is almost as great as his importance for Judaism, is here made 
the subject of intensive research with a view to defining 
more exactly than has ever been done before the extent of 
his acquaintance with the oral law of the Jews current in 
Palestine in the time of Jesus. 

As a Jewish philosopher living in Alexandria, Philo's 
acquaintance with the Palestinian oral law of his day has 
often been doubted or greatly minimized. Scholars holding 
this opinion have thought that the procedures of the Jew- 
ish courts in Alexandria, or the legal customs of gentile 
courts, or the legal thinking of Stoic and Platonic philosophy, 
were the sources upon which Philo mainly depended. Dr. 
Belkin vigorously opposes this type of interpretation and 
argues vigorously in defense of the view that Palestinian oral 
law was well known and extensively practiced in the Jewish 
community of Alexandria, and that from this source Philo 
derived his interpretations of the Mosaic laws. 

The argument is developed with strict attention to the 
original sources of information, both in the writings of Philo 
and in the surviving Taanaitic traditions. The study covers 
the whole field of ritual, religious, civil and criminal laws. 
And the conclusions deduced from the wealth of data cited 
point consistently in the direction of denying the usual view 
that a sharp line of distinction separated Palestinian from 
Hellenistic Judaism. On the contrary, the two cultures are 
represented as essentially one, all being dominated by the 
oral law formulated by the Pharisees of Palestine. Their con- 
cepts and teachings were normative even for Jewish life in 
Alexandria and were determinative for the thought and ex- 
egesis of Philo. 

The author has written an important book that will at- 


tract the serious attention of scholars. But whether they will 
uniformly accept his findings is an open question. In his 
zeal to prove a case for Palestinian Pharisees he has over- 
looked many features of Jewish life in the Dispersion when 
the Jews were more at home in gentile lands than was the 
case after the Jewish revolts of the first and second century 
A. D. Had Philo lived in the second century A. D. his inter- 
ests and attitudes might quite normally have been those of 
a Pharisaic rabbi, but such was hardly the atmosphere of 
Jewish cultural life in Alexandria in the first half of the 
first century. The very fact of its being so hard to prove 
that Philo knew any Hebrew at all — Dr. Belkin's attempt is 
far from convincing — .is itself a serious impediment to thG 
hypothesis that Pharisaic culture from Palestine had pemie- 
ated Jewish life in Alexandria in Philo's day. 

Paul, Man of Conflict. A Modern Biographical Sketch. By 
Donald Wayne Riddle. Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1940. 244 
pages. $2.00 

A new book on Paul enters a field already occupied by 
many predecessors. But Dr. Riddle feels that these are all in- 
adequate, if not perverse, and he sets out to paint a new por- 
trait truer to reality. His major premise is that Paul's let- 
ters, rather than the Book of Acts, are the really dependa- 
ble sources of information. Working from this postulate as 
a point of departure, the validity of which no serious scholar 
should question, the author reconstructs his picture of Paul's 
religious career. 

This will be recognized at once as an unusual book, and 
its very novelty may create an uneasy feeling of distrust on 
the part of the reader. He may suspect that fancy has been 
allowed too much free play upon the scantily available data. 
Even the first chapter, on the "formative years." shows a 
tendency to psychologize rather freely on the basis of doubt- 
ful information about the hellenistic Jewish setting of Paul's 
youth. Later, Paul's distress under the Law and his con- 
version experience are thought to have revolved about the 
central problem of Jews and non-Jews eating together — a 
practice which is assumed to have been current among 


Christians when Paul appeared upon the scene, and to have 
constituted the grounds for his persecution. His conversion 
therefore consisted essentially in his decision to adopt the 
custom of free fellowship. The fact that Christians by making 
Jesus divine infringed upon the sanctity of the Jewish 
God, seems to have played no role in the situation. There- 
after the main trend in Paul's effort was to establish Judaism 
as the true religion that should freely accept gentiles into the 
Jewish fellowship. This was in essence the religion of Paul, 
which has rather erroneously been termed "Christianity." 

It may seem to some readers that the author overreaches 
himself in his effort to be original. His extreme skepticism 
about the dependability of anj'thing reported in Acts leads 
him to ignore completely any source material that may have 
been used by that author. Moreover, a biography that pur- 
ports to be written in strict loyalty to the Pauline letters 
ought, it would seem, to have been based upon an intensive 
and comprehensive study of these documents. It is surpris- 
ing to discover that large areas of the Pauline correspond- 
ence have been overlooked in favor of selected passages that 
can be made to accord with the novel hypotheses here pre- 
sented. But perhaps the most questionable feature of the 
book is Dr. Riddle's habit of picking up promiscuously ten- 
tative hypotheses recently advanced by different students 
and presenting them as though they were the absolute truth 
once for all revealed to the saints of scholarship. And it is 
quite possible that some of these scholars will blush when 
they discover the new patterns into which their researches 
have been interwoven in this volume. Occasionally Dr. Rid- 
dle has risked categorical statements, such as the remark 
that Justin Martyr "used Paul's letters extensively," when 
more careful verification would have been in order. 

The book throughout is fresh and stimulating and is in- 
teresting reading for the initiated who are prepared to judge 
for themselves the validity of the opinions here advanced. 
But it may easily prove to be a menace to unwary readers. 

The Religion of the New Testament. By Ernest William Par- 
sons. New York : Harper & Brothers, 1939. 278 pages. $2.50 


The interpretation of the entire religious content of the 
New Testament is here set forth compactly and lucidly by a 
thoroughly dependable scholar. He is familiar with the lat- 
est results of research in all of the various fields of New Tes- 
tament study. Yet he does not burden his readers with the 
laborious processes through which scholars have arrived at 
their conclusions. Rather, he builds upon these findings his 
own constructive exposition of the meaning and implications 
of the different aspects of religion contained in these writ- 
ings. He regards the New Testament to be a most valuable 
record of religious experience, thought and practice, and his 
aim is to effect a fuller understanding and keener apprecia- 
tion of its content. 

First, there is a careful presentation of the religion of 
Jesus. His importance, the difficulty of recovering accurate 
information about his religion, the proper approach to the 
subject, and attention to the religious environment in which 
he lived are given preliminary consideration. Then follows 
detailed accounts of specific items in the ideals, thinking and 
purpose of Jesuss in so far as these matters are now believed 
to be recoverable from the gospel records. 

The next section, on the religion of the pre-Pauline 
Christians, is an incisive and well-balanced investigation of 
that obscure but important period in the history of early 
Christianity. One sees how the rise of the resurrection faith 
engendered a new confidence in the messiahship of Jesus, 
produced an apology for his crucifixion, and started Chris- 
tianity on the way to becoming a new religion that ultimate- 
ly had to separate itself from the parent religion of Judaism. 
The religion of Paul invites a more elaborate treatment 
made possible by our possession of so many of the apostle's 
personal letters. The numerous elements in the Pauline 
scheme of religious interest and thinking are given detailed 
exposition. These pages, if printed separately, would form 
a substantial booklet on the Christian faith as set forth in 
the letters of Paul. 

The religion of the synoptic gospels presents more brief- 
ly the distinctive features of these documents with refer- 
ence particularly to ideas about the messiahship and death 


of Jesus, the church and eschatology. The religion of the 
epistle to the Hebrews is somewhat more obscure but its 
meaning is clearly presented in less than twenty carefully 
written pages. Similarly, the perplexing imagery of Reve- 
lation takes on order and meaning under the wise guidance 
of Dr. Parsons. 

Still another section of the volume is devoted to the re- 
ligion of the Fourth Gospel. Its distinctive features are skil- 
fully and incisively presented, and introduce one of the most 
recent results of investigation upon this much-studied book. 
A careful reading of these fifty compact pages gives one so 
complete an understanding of this gospel that it seems hardly 
necessary to consult further the more elaborate commenta- 
ries. The remaining New Testament documents are grouped 
together in a final Chapter, which is followed by a brief 

Dr. Parsons has designed his book for a particular class 
of readers. He has had in mind the needs of ministers and 
lajTnen who may desire to learn what the various New Tes- 
tament writers actually meant to say. This end, he is con- 
vinced, can be reached only by employing a strictly histori- 
cal approach to the task. A vast amount of labor has been 
involved in study preparatory to the writing of the book 
and it must have required a good deal of self-control on the 
author's part to resist the temptation to drag his readers 
through these preliminary stages of his work. But he has 
consistently refrained and they may have the fruits without 
suffering the toils of seed-sowing and cultivation. 

Religion and Mental Health. By •Charles T. Holman. New 
York: Round Table Press, 1939. 210 pages. $2.00 

The author aims to show how religion may be made an 
aid to the' restoration and maintenance of the healthful mind. 
First, he delineates the factors that menace mental health. 
These are found to be what he calls "infantilism" in religion, a 
sense of inferiority and guilt, anxiety and worry, torment- 
ing fears, consciousness of failure, the operation of hidden 
motives, the inner conflict of impulses and passions, and the 
sense of being thwarted by environmental conditions. Sec- 


oiidly, he lists the various respects in which Christian faith 
pi'cmotes mental health. He thinks that honest and sincere 
confession would have great therapeutic value for many peo- 
ple Religion can also give one new courage to face grave 
problems, it can aid one to discover and perform the will of 
(Jod, it can inspire decision and commitment, it can provide 
an undergirding philosophy of life, it can reinforce falter- 
ing human spirits with an awareness of divine guidance, it 
can give one a sense of spiritual reality behind and within 
the cosmos, and the total result is the religion of the healthy 

The first part of the book might be called the psychologi- 
cal section and the second part the homiletical. But the sep- 
aration of these two interests is not rigidly enforced; they 
repiosent only the respective points of stress. And the psy- 
chological data are not chosen to represent any specific school 
but are a blend of several different types. The aim of the 
author is not to advocate a theor}^ but to expose various men- 
tal t]-aits that tend to weaken or disintegrate the personality. 
Thus the presentation is descriptive rather than analytical. 
Similai'ly, the remedies proposed are justified on the ground 
of tlu'ir restorative value rather than by any attempt to de- 
fend their inherent validity. But, of course, what sick minds 
need is a pi'escription and not a rational analysis and evalu- 
ation of the proposed therapy. Healthy minds, that need no 
physician, might be inclined to view the matter more criti- 
cally and objectively; but this book is not for them. How- 
ever, it will prove immensely valuable for ministers and other 
religious workers who have to deal with the type of persons 
here described. In fact, each chapter seems quite like a ser- 
mon, with its scriptural texts and practical exhortations, 
that might have been preached to almost any ordinary con- 
gregation. Other preachers might extract many a good ser- 
mon from the volume. 

Pioneers of the Primitive Church. By Floyd V. Filson. New 
York : The Abingdon Press, 1940. 194 pages. $2.00 

The five "pioneers" are Peter, Stephen, Barnabas, Paul 
and James. The life and work of these leaders appear here 


in a popular presentation thought suitable to needs of preach- 
ers and teachers in the church school. The teaching and ed- 
ifyirg value of the material is always kept in mind. Yet the 
author is a scholar who has due regard for the uncertain 
character of many features in the traditions about some of 
these early Christians. His purpose is to serve as an inter- 
preter of the moderately critical results of scholarship to 
the average person interested primarily in the religious val- 
ues that can be derived from this source. The result is a 
readable and suggestive book which does not make too heavy 
a demand upon the mental alertness of readers and yet is 
thoroughly respectable from the intellectual point of view. 

Notwithstanding the diversity that results from select- 
ing a series of individuals for the subject of each chapter, 
the author has had in mind a unifjdng purpose. The work 
of these leaders carries one's thought along over the period 
of the earl}^ church's relation to Judaism and its subsequent 
transition to a gentile environment. But there is less em- 
phasis upon the course of historical development than upon 
the personality and significance of the leaders. The author 
states that he has had five ends in view. First, he wishes 
to show how interesting strong personalities always are. 
Second, he seeks to shed light upon the relationship between 
the primitive Christian movement and Judaism. Third, he 
aims to clarify the process by which the new religion made 
its transition to gentile lands and ways of thinking. Fourth, 
he traces the process by which the church developed an in- 
terest in organization. And, finally, he points out incidental- 
ly the significance of this study for modern Christian living 
and leadership. 

The book should serve a very useful purpose for the par- 
ticular class of readers to whom it is addressed. There is 
ample room for more books of this type in the educational 
work of our modern churches. 

Protestantism's Challenge: An Historical Study of the Swr- 
vival Value of Protestantism. By Conrad Henry Moehlman. 
New York : Harper & Brothers, 1939. 286 pages. $2.50. 

The fundamental issue on which the Protestant reform- 


ers broke with the Roman Church was the problem of 
Christianity's ultimate authority. For Catholicism's con- 
tention that this authority resides in the ecclesiastical es- 
tablishment headed by the papacy Protestantism substituted 
the authority of the Bible. In principle the Protestant po- 
sition insured every religious man freedom of access to God 
mediated directly through reading the Scriptures. But since 
Protestantism started in the sixteenth century historical 
study of the Bible has shed a vast amount of fresh light 
upon the content and meaning of this book. This is especially 
true of the New Testament and of the life and teaching of 
Jesus which by hypothesis constitute the ultimate basis of 
Protestant Christianity. When the Bible is thus historically 
understood is its ultimate guidance still accepted? This 
is modern Protestantism's challenge. 

This question has a very direct bearing upon current 
movements toward church union between various Protestant 
groups. The advocates of union, in their urgency to ac- 
complish practical results, have often failed to comprehend 
the essential genius of Protestantism and consequently 
have run into all sorts of confusion or have unconsciously 
advocated programs that would nullify basal Protestant 
principles. The problem needs clarification. Professor 
Moehlman's book is admirably designed to meet this need. 
Its pages should be studiously read by everyone who is 
deeply concerned with the problem of effecting closer uni- 
fication among present-day rival Protestant groups. 

The method of this book is rigidly and accurately his- 
torical. The inherited Protestant faith and the history of 
the fundamental creeds are clearly delineated. The "myth" 
of apostolic succession is mercilessly exposed. The New 
Testament teaching regarding the origin and early de- 
velopment of the church is clearly depicted in all of its 
different aspects. A similarly incisive inquiry is conducted 
upon the development and interpretation of the sacraments 
among the earliest Christians. Then follow three chapters 
describing in calm but inescapable fashion the findings of 
modern scholarship regarding the New Testament picture 
of Jesus, the grounds on which he was put to death, and 


the original features in the story of the passion. 

The final chapter is a constructive summary of modern 
Protestant knowledge about what Jesus thought of God, 
of man, of the better community, and of the good life. 
When the early reformers sought to return to Jesus and 
the gospels they were still victims of medieval ways of 
thinking. But three centuries of growing knowledge have 
given us new insights into the content and meaning of the 
religion lived and taught by Jesus. Will contemporary Prot- 
estant groups retain the original principle of respect for 
Jesus and his message as these are now known to modern 
scholars and on this basis unite in vital fellowship to meet 
the needs of the present age? This is the pertinent question 
that the author leaves with his readers to answer for 

The Message of Jesus Christ: The Tradition of the Early 
Christian Commwnities. By Martin Dibelius. Translated into 
English by Frederick C. Grant. New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons,1939. 192 pages. $2.00. 

During the past two decades certain students of the 
gospels have been developing a new type of research into 
the origin of these writings. It is an attempt to penetrate 
behind the present written narratives in order to recover 
the earlier fragmentary pieces of tradition that are pre- 
sumed to have been in circulation within the early Chris- 
tian communities prior to the composition of our present 
gospels. There is no doubt about the early existence of this 
type of material, for the author of the Gospel of Luke 
knew and used "many" of these briefer narratives (Luke 
1: 1-3). But since none of them has survived independently, 
they have to be extracted more or less hypothetically out of 
our present gospels. 

The means employed in this attempt is to discriminate 
between different types of literary form. One picks out 
from the gospels briefer units of tradition that can be 
classified, for example, as parables, as stories with a 
moral, as sententious sayings, as miracle tales, and as 
edifying legends. It is assumed that each of these "forms" 


had been cultivated by the early Christian preachers and 
numerous examples of each had become current and were 
used to give effectiveness to sermons long before anyone 
thought of blending them together into a continuous 
biography of Jesus. This new method of inquiry has been 
pursued most diligently in Germany, where it has been 
given the name of "form-history" for which English trans- 
lators seem inclined to use the expression "form criticism." 
Dr. Dibelius' book gives the results of his studies in 
this field. He reprints under the classification of forms 
suggested above, the abbreviated gospel incidents and say- 
ings as he thinks they originally circulated in early Chris- 
tian preaching before they were reworked into the 
gospels of our present New Testament. This is followed by 
Part II of the volume in which the author explains why 
he thinks his proposed reconstruction is valid. Although 
the book is entitled "The Message of Jesus Christ," it does 
not deal extensively or minutely with the problem of 
whether this material represents accurately what Jesus 
really said and did. The supposition that this tradition 
circulated before the gospels were written certainly does 
not exclude the possibility that early Christian preachers 
exercised their own creative skill in giving it form and 
content. We may concede that the results of "form criticism" 
carry us back nearer to the real Jesus in time, but intro- 
duce us only to Christian preachers anxious to make their 
message effective and who had even less interest in historical 
accuracy than had the gospel writers. 

Freedom, and Culture. By John Dewey. New York: G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, 1939. 176 pages. $2.00. 

Professor Dewey is the patriarch of American phi- 
losophers. But he still thinks and writes with the vigor 
of youth, even though he is now in his eighty-first year. 
His latest volume is a lucid presentation of the problem of 
freedom in relation to the cultural ideals of American 
democracy. He has always been keenly sensitive to the 
social implications of philosophical thinking, and in this 
book he applies his fundamental social principles to the 


contemporary situation in which the aggressiveness of 
totalitarian action and propaganda threaten to undermine 
the ideals of democracy. Freedom is being attacked from 
different quarters and the need for an apology on its be- 
half was never more urgent than at the present moment. 
Here is a sober but emphatic defense set forth by an 
acute and competent thinker. 

Freedom, it is maintained, must not be thought of as 
essentially an individual matter. On the contrary, it is a 
cooperative attainment to be realized in relation to the 
total cultural context in which individuals live. Hence it 
must first take account of the hard facts of raw human na- 
ture on which the processes of social life rest. The greatest 
menace to democracy lies, not in insidious propaganda from 
abroad, but in our natural impulses to compete, divide and 
cherish rivalries among ourselves. These weaknesses are all 
too evident still among our business men, our clergymen, our 
educators, and our politicians. The one thing needful for 
the more complete realization of democracy is the correction 
of our disordered social life by means of a higher degree of 
intellectual and moral integration. The remedy must be 
found in ourselves and in our institutions. 

Strife of interests, parties and factions is a normal 
inheritance from our diversified American background. 
This fact is especially conspicuous in the field of eco- 
nomics. But the Marxist principle of elevating one class 
of society to a position of supremacy over all others offers 
no genuine solution. Laissez-faire individualism errs equally 
in the opposite direction. Neither procedure furnishes a 
means of genuine social integration. While democracy is 
truly experimental it cannot succeed as a thoughtless em- 
piricism. It must be planned and operated through the 
cooperative efforts of the best intelligence that can be en- 
listed in the cause. 

Democracy quite legitimately respects the natural rights 
of human beings, but this ideal must also be socialized. Its 
fullest realization is attainable only when it applies to the 
greatest num.ber of persons. Thus self-governing methods 
in a democracy become an increasingly complex problem. 


They must be pursued as a scientific enterprise in the 
midst of a freely developing culture. Open-mindedness is 
fundamental to success. Scientific methods of i-esearch must 
be extended to apply to the whole range of social problems. 
In other words, the future of democracy lies with the 
spread of the scientific attitude that ever stimulates fresh 
inquiry and inhibits rigid or premature generalizations. 
Ideas and knowledge must increasingly infuse the non- 
rational factors in the human make-up. Public opinion and 
sentiment, enlightened and morally directed, is the only 
sure foundation for democi'atic government. The people 
must learn to insist that politicians treat their office as 
a public trust. 

The future of democracy in America is portrayed in 
no Utopian colors. Its attainment will be a hard-fought 
battle that must be freshly won by each succeeding genera- 
tion. Human nature and cultural attainments will fuse in 
its accomplishment. This struggle will continue on many 
cultural fronts: political, economic, international, educa- 
tional, scientific, artistic, and religious. It is a relatively 
new task for mankind, and it is absurd for one to lose 
faith in the cause almost before the struggle has begun. 
Victory can be secured only by long-continued and sustained 
endeavor supported by careful deliberation and intensive 
intelligence. There is no other royal road to attainment. 

The Book of Revelation. By E. F. Scott. New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1940. 191 pages. $2.00 

There is no New Testament writing less frequently 
read, or more often misundei'stood when it is read, than the 
Book of Revelation. From time to time volumes have ap- 
peared offering a sensible interpretation of Revelation but 
they are soon forgotten and a new one is in order. Pro- 
fessor Scott's book presents no novel conclusions and has lit- 
tle or nothing to say that has not been said before, but it 
very much needed to be said again. It is a welcome addi- 
tion to the literature of the subject. 

The purpose and method of the volume are direct and 
simple. It aims to make clear the historical circumstances 


that called forth the writing of Revelation, to clarify the 
meaning of the strange imagerj^ depicted in the book, to ex- 
pound its religious doctrines, and to indicate the permanent 
values in its message. Revelation can be properly under- 
stood only by one who is acquainted with the type of Jew- 
ish literature known as apocalypses. These were writings 
that envisaged the future triumph of God in spite of pres- 
ent distress. So John, writing from his exile in Patmos 
when Christians were suffering from the Roman persecu- 
tion by the emperor Domitian shortly before the year 96 A. 
D., portrayed an imaginative glorious victory to follow the 
mounting agonies which were thought to be in store for the 
Christian church in the immediate future. Faith in God 
glowed with fresh ardor in the presence of temporary dis- 
asters and boldly affirmed an ultimate triumph for the Chris- 
tian cause when God would presently and miraculously inter- 
vene on its behalf. 

But the persecution ended suddenly with the death of 
Domitian in the year 96 and the immediate purpose that 
Revelation was designed to serve lost its pertinence. Incident- 
ally, however, the book contained many values that were 
felt worthy of being conserved and which, in the opinion of 
Professor Scott, are still deserving of consideration. He 
finds in the document certain essential features of Christian 
teaching. Its doctrine of God's sovereignty, its conception 
of Christ, its view of the church and its worship, and its in- 
terpretation of the evils of the world, are all commended as 
suitable for modern attention. Even the character of per- 
manence is ascribed to John's doctrine of a crisis in men's 
experience with evil, to his view of history as the stage up- 
on which the battle between good and evil is waged, to his 
insistence upon judgment, and to his unquenchable faith 
in God. 

While readers may sometimes feel that the attempt to 
find modern and permanent values in Revelation may be 
somewhat overdone, the historical phase of the study, de- 
picting the origin and original purpose of this early Chris- 
tian writing, leaves nothing further to be desired. 


Instincts and Religion. By George Barton Cutten. New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1940. 154 pages. $1.50 

In recent times psychologists have been wont to min- 
imize or ignore the importance of the human instincts. In 
fact their very existence has been denied. Opposing this 
trend, President Cutten of Colgate has written a book de- 
signed to reestablish the respectability of the instincts, or 
at any rate to reaffii-m their reality and importance even in 
the sphere of religion. 

The first task attempted is to define the relation between 
instincts and intelligence in the human person. The author 
is not fussy about the use of terms. If one should prefer 
to call the basal physical impulses by such names as desire, 
aversion, urge, drive, need, or libido, that practice may be 
permitted, provided their total range of operation is recog- 
nized and one impulse is not so magnified as to exclude all 
of the others. But the older terminology, admitting a vari- 
ety of instincts, is, in the writer's opinion, much to be pre- 
ferred. He formulates his own definition thus: "An in- 
stinct is an insistent but unlearned activity toward origin- 
ally unrecognized ends, which is common to the species, and 
the consummation of which may be modified by experience." 

What, then, is the function of intelligence? Reason is 
found to be a late development in the human animal but it 
is the characteristic that distinguishes him fi"om the beasts. 
It is the task of intelligence to direct the energies that in- 
stinct awakens and to provide a set of higher but secondary 
satisfactions to replace the primary satisfactions that un- 
l-estrained instincts would seek. But it is a mistake to im- 
agine that the cultural life of man has so far advanced that 
the drive of the instincts has been virtually eliminated. To 
be convinced of this fact one has only to note the instability 
of the individual as a member of a mob, or even his readi- 
ness to revert to primary satisfactions in a time of sudden 
and severe pressure. When on our guard we may act in- 
telligently but it is always an effort; when caught off guard 
we automatically revert to instinctive conduct. 

As for conduct that we call moral, it is the product of 
intelligence directing instinctive drives away from bestial 


levels into the more exalted channels that experience has 
taught us to prefer. When intelligence subsides, morals de- 
teriorate. And religion also rests ultimately upon the in- 
stincts, of which it is the intelligent and ideational fulfil- 
ment. But in this sphere, if the ideals of religion are to be 
fully realized, the primary instinctive satisfactions have to 
be completelj^ suppressed and the ideational secondary sat- 
isfactions become the true goal of attainment. Thus reli- 
gion is not at war with the instincts and is not a perpetual 
struggle for their suppression. Rather, it is the fulfilment 
of the total range of instinctive urges raised to the level of 

How can the instincts be made the ground of religious 
life if the natural man is totally depraved, as has often been 
alleged? This, thinks President Cutten, is not true. Origi- 
nal sin does not reside in the instincts. They are but raw ma- 
terials that may be manufactured into sin or sanctity ac- 
cording to the use which is made of them by intelligent be- 
ings. Failure to recognize the instinctive elements in re- 
ligion, and the disposition to make it an affair of the intel- 
ligence only, is thought to be the primary defect in much 
of our modern theological thinking. But to discard intelli- 
gence, and reduce religion to a mere emotionalism, would 
be equally erroneous. Religion concerns the whole man. 
Its appeal should be to both the instincts and the intelligence 
as these cooperatively function to bring to realization the 
highest values that human experience attests. 

This little book ought to serve an especially important 
purpose at the present time. The trend in modern theology 
that we call Barthianism is an almost violent protest against 
rationality in religion and an exaltation of blind faith as es- 
sentially an emotionalism of despair. The human factor is 
tl:us completely cancelled out in the religious process. Man 
is nothing; God is everything. The reading of President 
Cutten's volume will help to reinstate man in the religious 
sphere, and not simply as a rational being but in his total 
make-up as a human person. 


Non-Violence in an Aggressive World. By A. J. Muste. New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1940. 211 pages. $2.00 
Thinking Aloud in War-Time. By Leslie D. Weatherhead. 
New York: The Abingdon Press, 1940. 133 pages. $1.00 

These two books deal with the problem of Christian think- 
ing in time of war. War is equally distasteful to each of 
these authors but they approach the subject from quite dif- 
ferent points of view. Muste advocates the absolute valid- 
ity of the pacifist's idea"! as a norm for thought and action 
to be rigidly followed regardless of any set of concrete cir- 
cumstances. On the other hand, Weatherhead takes a real- 
istic view of the present situation and, without trying to 
superimpose upon it some absolute ideal from without, 
strives to discover processes that may be made to operate 
from within to effect the healing of cr ills. 

Muste's volume is a treatise on "isms." He contends 
that the pacifist's "ism" represents tho absolute truth of 
divine revelation in contrast with the erroneous and evil 
doctrines of all other "isms," such as capitalism, nationalism, 
imperialism, Facism, Naziism, and Communism. Society is 
seen to embrace three main groups : the members of the 
churches, the members of the labor party who are seeking 
a social revolution, and those who believe in the democratic 
way of life. All three groups have closely allied interests, 
although this fact is not commonly appreciated, and the suc- 
cess of each can be insured only by the adoption of the non- 
violent ideal which is the essential feature of the Jewish- 
Christian prophetic type of religion. This is the ultimate 
truth of divine revelation embodied in the sacred Scriptures, 
particularly in the teachings of the Old Testament prophets 
and Jesus. 

The theoretical and practical difficulties of applying this 
principle of strict pacifism are not thought to be serious. 
Lack of its adoption is the underlying defect that has vitiat- 
ed the revolutionary strategy of Communism in Russia. It 
is the only program that makes possible the organization of 
genuine democracy. And its adoption offers the only hope 
of eliminating deadly international conflicts. The author 
seems to think pacifism, if put into effective operation by 



the allies, would actually spike Hitler's guns. Such is our 
author's faith in the effectiveness of an abstract ideal which 
one assumes to be a divine revelation. 

The zeal and sincerity of this author are contagious. 
There is no goal more desirable than a social order within 
which violence would no longer find a place. But how to 
persuade men everywhere and always to adopt and prac- 
tice the pacifist's program is the unsolved, if not the insolu- 
ble, problem. To seek to justify it by alleging it to be the 
ultimate truth of God's revelation does not guarantee its 
validity. For in the last resort revelation is only the convic- 
tion entertained by men who sincerely believe that they have 
apprehended God's truth. Those who fight even unto death for 
a cause that to them seems righteous are equally sure of fol- 
lowing the lead of genuine revelation and convinced that 
Jesus came to bring not peace but a sword (Matt. 10: 34). 

Weatherhead opens his little book with a scathing in- 
dictment of war. Yet he cannot bring himself to adopt out- 
right the practical program of the pacifist. The state of 
society being what it is today, force must still be employed 
to protect both individuals and groups from violence by ag- 
gressors. However much one hates war, he cannot divest 
himself of the responsibility to help to protect his brothers 
from piracy. This obligation holds not only for the local 
community but for the commonwealth of nations. It is the 
duty of the strong, whether man or nations, to protect the 
weak in their extremity. This means living up to one's ideal 
of the brotherhood of nations. 

How, then, shall one define the proper conduct for a 
Christian? War is certainly incompatible with Christianity, 
yet a Christian will not shirk his full responsibility as a mem- 
ber of the state. War is never right, but under given circum- 
stances it may be a necessary evil. To refuse to perform 
one's duty to the state is an evil, and to participate in war is 
also an evil. But one of these things the Christian must 
do. In choosing between two evils he must decide to follow 
the course that seems likely to issue in the greater measure 
of good. The task of the church is not to settle the political 
or economic issues giving rise to strife, but to make men 


sensitive to the right. When this sensitivity has been ade- 
quately developed men will then make the world right. 

Although the Christian may thus feel it necessary to 
render support to war, there are certain attitudes that he 
will sedulously avoid. He will seek always to understand 
the enemy. He will pray about the matter, always expressing 
the wish that God's will may prevail in spite of this accursed 
man-made demon of war. He will retain faith in God's ul- 
timate triumph over evil, notwithstanding the temporary 
aberrations of history. The present is but a microscopic 
atom in the ceaseless expanse of time. And beyond the days 
and scenes of strife are values that war cannot touch. 

These two books represent two interesting personal 
reactions toward the problem of war approached from dif- 
ferent Christian points of view. Weatherhead is an English- 
man whose sympathies are opposed to war but who shares 
the Englishman's conviction of moral responsibility for pro- 
tecting weaker European peoples from the violation of their 
rights by Hitler. Muste, on the other hand, hates English 
imperialism and while not condoning Hitler thinks him to 
be more sinned against than sinning. Fortunately, for us 
in the United States of America the issue is still a hypothet- 
ical one. What we would or would not do if our shores 
were threatened by violence from an invader is a question 
that we are not in a position to answer. If we resided in 
France or England or Norway our reactions might be very 
different. And it is somewhat gratuitous for us in our state 
of immunity to propose programs for others who face stern 
realities of which we have no immediate experience. 

The Study of the Neiv Testament. By Clarence Tucker Craig. 
New York: The Abingdon Press, 1939. 131 pages. $1.00. 

It was a happy thought that inspired the writing of this 
book. To learn to read the New Testament intelligently, in 
the light of the purpose and meaning which the several writ- 
ers had in mind, is not an easy task for the average person 
today. But if he will take this little handbook as a guide he 
will find the way made easy for a truly historical under- 
standing of each of the New Testament writings. With al- 


most amazing candoi% and yet in quite inoffensive language, 
Professor Craig delineates the circumstances under which 
each New Testament book was composed and the leading 
ideas which each author intended to convey to the people of 
his own day. 

In a brief introduction there is a rapid sketch of differ- 
ent ways in which the Bible may be read. The dogmatic ap- 
proach, in which the Bible is treated as a collection of infal- 
libly inspired proof-texts to be used in support of doctrine, 
is set aside as inadequate. Devotional reading is less severe- 
ly censured, yet it offers serious perils to a correct under- 
standing of the original meaning. To read the Bible for its 
literary value is also a misdirected effort, particularly in the 
case of the New Testament which was composed by authors 
who made no literary pretensions. For the purposes of cor- 
rect understanding and genuine appreciation the approach 
should be historical. The reader should first avail himself 
of the help of scholars who have discovered the circumstances 
under which the several New Testament books were writ- 
ten and who have made clear the specific aims that the 
books were originally designed to serve. And this type 
of reading, it is maintained, will give one the best insight 
into the genuinely religious values of this literature. With 
this practical end in view% the several New Testament books 
are surveyed and simply described in language easily un- 

The book is designed for use by adult and young peo- 
ple's classes in the church school or by pastors who wish to 
make Bible study a subject for their midweek services. It is 
admirably suited to these purposes, but it will also serve ex- 
cellently the needs of an individual who may wish to acquaint 
himself with the historical method of study. If, for exam- 
ple, he will read through one of these chapters, say Chapter 
I on Mark, and will then read through at one sitting if pos- 
sible that gospel, the result should be exceedingly enlighten- 
ing and truly edifying in the best sense of that term. The 
findings rather than the processes of historical criticism 
are presented in these pages and there are no digressions in- 
to scholarly debates on disputed issues. But anyone who hap- 


pens to be familiar with the work of modern technical schol- 
arship will find Professor Craig thoroughly at home in these 
matters and will recognize that in his attempts at popular- 
ization he never deviates from his loyalty to scholarly stan- 
dards. He writes an interpretation ; he does not indulge in 

The Educational Work of the Church. By Nevin C. Harner. 
New York: The Abingdon Press, 1939. 257 pages. $1.25 

The most significant statement in this book comes near 
the start of the second chapter. That statement, "A Church 
exists for people," is one of the most forgotten facts among 
all the churches. While it sounds so simple and plausible that 
it is hard to understand how any could deny it, yet few are 
the churches that really "exist for people." Many feel that 
to magnify man must necessarily minimize God and this 
the church must not do. Still, again, there are those who 
hold that placing man in the central position means shoving 
the Bible out and this the church must not do. Others find 
the Christian aspect of the church endangered if man gets 
too prominent in the church's thinking. 

The fundamental thesis of this book is that the church 
must build its program for people, and more, for a particular 
group of people. Many of the larger denominations find 
their programs failing because they are not sufficiently flex- 
ible to be adjusted to particular people. 

Some persons will come to understand what Christian 
education is only if they first clear their minds of certain 
misconceptions. Consequently, Dr. Harner takes a few pag- 
es of the first chapter to point out what Christian education 
is not. After discussing what it is, he then devotes the maj- 
or portion of the work to pointing out how the program 
should be built for people. 

The American Sunday school grew alongside the Amer- 
ican Church in much the same fashion that the fraternit}' 
system grew alongside the colleges. The Sunday school, 
which was an entirely separate organization, would handle 
education for the church just as the fraternities would han- 
dle social life for the colleges. Most colleges now realize that 


social life is a part of education but not all churches have 
come to the realization that education is the work of the 
church itself. Not infrequently has the arcade between the 
Sunday school building and the church building proper been 
the only contact between the church and its educational woi-k. 
This volume is dedicated to the task of uniting the church 
with its true function, that of education, and it does it well. 

Saintfi hi Action. By Dumas Malone. New York: The Ab- 
itigdon Press, 1939. 178 pages. $2.00. 

The biographical study of history is to many people the 
most fascinating and certainly the Drew University Lecture- 
ship in Biography is doing much to stimulate interest in this 
approach. Saints in Action is an excellent addition to the 
five volumes of the lectureship already published; earlier 
titles in the series have included The Men of the Outposts, 
Welch ; Men of Zeal, Sweet ; Creative Me7i, McDowell ; 
Charles Wesley, Wiseman; and Voices of the New Room, 

Dr. Malone is eminently qualified to write of the lives of 
loutstanding Americans for as editor-in-chief of the Dictionary 
of American Biography he has had a better opportunity than 
any other man in the country to become imbued with the 
deeds of the great. Before dealing with the saints of Amer- 
ica, the author first establishes his criterion for saintliness. 
He adopts as his formula this statement of William James : 
"The saintly character is the character for which spirit- 
ual emotions are the habitual center of the personal energy." 
This is obviously a somewhat flexible definition. 

Starting his list with Jonathan Edwards, of the cler- 
ical saints, and ending with William Rainey Harper, of edu- 
cational saintliness, the author finds his saints among the 
clergy, the reformers, the women, and the educators. Select- 
ing candidates for the roster seems to have been done in 
much the same manner that an all-American football team is 
chosen. Especially is this true of the section dealing v/ith 
the clergy, but here instead of eleven the number is raised 
to twenty-five and the positions are dealt out as follows : 
Congregationalists, eight; Unitarians, two; Presbyterians, 


two; Episcopalians, two; Methodists, three; Roman Catholics, 
five; and the Baptists, Disciples of Christ, and Lutherans 
one each. 

Among the Crusaders of Reform whom the author finds 
are seldom saints, all except the Abolitionists are ruled out 
and within this circle John Brown is denied sainthood by be- 
ii.p: assigned to the "lunatic fringe" and William Lloyd Gar- 
i-ison fails to qualify and is assigned to the "fanatics." 
These exclusions are altogether proper and the spotlight of 
saintliness is focused on two figures. The first, Charles CJ. 
Finney is well known but the second is of the most impor- 
tant but until recently the most obscure of the Abolitionists, 
Tlieodore Dwight Weld. The volume serves a usvful p.irpose 
i!i calling attention to Weld. 

One cannot help but feel as he reads this book that per- 
haps it will be well to withhold canonization from this list 
a little longer in order that the concept of saintliness here 
employed may be somewhat refined and the list revised. 
Saints do not always have their biographies in the encyclo- 
pedia. However, this is an excellent addition to the studies 
in American biography and will serve to quicken interest 
in the lives of great Americans. 

The Church School and Worfthip. By Irwin G. Paulsen. New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 199 pages. $1.75. 

Many medioci'e books have impressive titles but for a 
change here is an impressive book with a rather ordinary 
title. Books of similar title have been numerous and have 
been largely concerned with the mechanics of the so-called 
"worship service." This volume is concerned with the much 
larger problem of the inadequacies of the whole church school 
and traces much of the ti'ouble to faulty conceptions of 

The title of the seventh chapter, "Relating the Worship 
of the Church School to Common Worship of the Church," 
indicates something of the author's solution for the prob- 
lem with which he deals. American Protestantism has never 
successfully defined the relationship between the church 
school and the church itself. Indeed, though under church 


sponsorship, the church school has not infrequently been 
a liability rather than an asset, and it is to the changing of 
this situation that this book addresses itself. 

Dr. Paulsen begins this work with a brief survey of the 
psychological value of worship, with special reference to 
children. After pointing out the failure of the church school 
to get the most out of worship, the author presents a thor- 
ough and practical program in worship training, outlining 
materials to be used and methods of using them. Likewise, 
the qualifications and training for leaders of worship are 
considered and a program for leadership training is pre- 
sented. The book closes with a chapter on private worship, 
linking up private meditations with church worship. 

This volume will prove especially helpful to all who work 
with young people. Freedom from obscuring terminology 
and a useful appendix are especially commendable. The ap- 
pendix, divided into a section on religious symbols, a good 
bibliography on worship and an outline for a more thorough 
study of the text, should be quite useful. 

The Seer's House. By Robert Nelson Spencer. New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. 151 pages. $1.50. 

The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of West Missouri 
makes this contribution to the rapidly growing body of de- 
votional literature. The Seers of Israel were of help in 
finding things that w^ere lost, hence the title of this book, 
for the author states that he has tried "in these pages to find 
some lost things." These essays were first used for Lenten 
lectures and the freedom of their style is indicated by the 
author's warning, "Quotations may not always be verbatim, 
even those from the Holy Scriptures." 

With sensitive insight. Bishop Spencer here writes of 
the goodness of God, the beauty of peace, and the promise 
of eternity, things lost, says he, "through familiarity's care- 
less contempt or in the feverish ways of our time." Much of 
devotion is divorced from real life but such is not the case 
with these essays, and undoubtedly many will find real com- 
fort in these pages. 



Co-Educational Founded 1885 

Lakeland, Florida 

The College 
In a Grove 
On a Hill 

Beside a Lake 
In a City 

The college is the only one in the United States which has a 
citrus grove for its campus. This 62-acre tract extends along a slope 
overlooking Lake HoUingsworth and is well within the municipal 
limits of Lakeland. 

With an enrollment of over 900 students and a staff of 72 
faculty members, the school offers courses in 33 departments of in- 
struction leading to A.B. and B.S. degrees and L.I. certificates. 

The institution is a member of the Southern Association of 
Colleges and Secondary Schools, an affiliation that guarantees full 
recognition of credits by standard institutions of learning everywhere. 

Eighty-five percent of the student body participates in the broad 
intramural program. Each student has a wide range of other extra- 
curricular activities to supplement his class work. Dramatics, stu- 
dent publications, debating, glee club, orchestra and mixed chorus 
are just a few of them. Numerous clubs are active in other fields 
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Relij?i< ! i 


In The Making 



By Henry Nelson Wieman 

OF WAR By Kathleen W. MacArthur 


By William Warren Sweet 


By Robert W. Goodloe 


By Charles E. Merriam 


By Shirley Jackson Case 


By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 




Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 

Religion in the Making is published four times a year, 
in May, November, January and March. It is sponsored by 
the Florida School of Religion and edited by the dean of 
the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, or sixty cents 
per single issue. Remittances should be made by postal or 
express money orders or by check and made payable to the 
Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business correspondence, 
manuscripts, exchanges, and books submitted for review, 
should be addressed to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, 
Florida School of Religion, Lakeland, Plorida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, four time.< a 
year. May 15, November 15, January 15, and March 15. 
Application for entry as second class matter is pending at 
the Pout Office, Lakeland, Florida. 




By Henry Nelson Wieman 



By Kathleen W. MacAfihur 



By William Warren Sweet 


By Robert W. Goodloe 


By Charles E. Merriam 


By Shirley Jackson Case 



By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 

NOTES AND NEWS : The Florida Religious 

Association 233 


Edwin E. Aubrey, Mans Search for Himself 238 

Archibald G. Baker (Editor), A Short History of 

Christianity 240 

Henry S. Coffin, Religion Yesterday and Today .... 241 

Albert E. Day, The Faith We Live 244 

Harrison S. Elliott, Can Religious Education 

Be Christian? 246 

James G. Gilkey, A Faith to Affirm 248 

Georgia Harkness, The Faith by Which the Church 

Lives 250 

Gerald Heard, The Creed of Christ 265 

William E. Hocking, Living Religions and a World 

Faith 252 

E. 0. James, The Social Function of Religion 266 

F. Ernest Johnson, The Social Gospel Re-Examined 254 

Julian P. Love, Hoiv to Read the Bible 256 

Chester C. McCown, The Search for the Real Jesus 

A Century of Historical Study 257 

Shailer Mathews, Is God Emeritus? 259 

William P. Montague, The Ways of Things ........ 261 

Joseph R. Sizoo, Not Alone 267 

Williard L. Sperry, What We Mean by Religion .... 263 


Henry Nelson Wieman is Professor of Christian The- 
ology in the Divinitj^ School of the University of Chicago, 
and has been a special lecturer at many other institutions. 
He received the degree of Ph. D., at Harvard in 1917 and 
holds honorary degrees from Park College and Occidental 
College. Among his better known books are The Wrestle 
of Religion with Truth, Religious Experience and the 
Scientific Method, Methods of Private Religious Living, 
and The Issues of Life. He is generally recognized as one 
of the most vigorous religious thinkers of modern times. 

Kathleen W. MacArthur is at present a teacher in the 
Department of Philosophy and Religion at Hollins College. 
After graduation from the University of Manitoba she pro- 
ceeded to the Ph. D. degree at the University of Chicago. 
For several years she was teacher of English and Bible in 
the Anglo-Oriental Girls' High School in Tokyo, Japan, 
and later was Acting Principal of the College of the Church 
of Christ in Toronto, Ontario. She has written a book 
that has been highly commended. The Economic Ethics of 
John Wesley. 

William Warren Sweet is the outstanding historian of 
Christianity in America, especially of the Methodist 
Church. Among his many published works are The Story of 
Religion in America, Methodism in American History, 
Men of Zeal, three large volumes of source materials on 
Religion on the American Frontier, and numerous articles 
in the fourteenth edition of the Encyclopedia BritoMnica 
and the Dictionary of American Biography. He is a Ph. 
D. of the University of Pennsylvania and holds the hon- 
orary degrees of D. D. and Litt. D. Before accepting his 
present position of Professor of the History of American 
Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of 
Chicago, he was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at 
DePauw University. 

Robert W. Goodloe is a graduate of Southern Methodist 
University and of Yale Divinity School, and has a Ph. D. 

from the University of Chicago. Since 1922 he has been 
Professor of Church History in the School of Theology at 
the Southern Methodist University and has served on 
many important committees and deliberative bodies in that 
Church. He has been a frequent contributor to religious 
journals and has written an important book on Principles 
and Development of Church Government. 

Charles E. Merriam has for a generation been Profes- 
sor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science 
in the University of Chicago, where he has been not only 
a leading educator but an active participant in the moral 
and civic life of the community. He is the author of more 
than a dozen books, the more recent being Civic Education 
in the United States, Political Power, Role of Politics in 
Social Change, The Neiv Democracy and the New Des- 
potism, and Prologue to Politics. 

Charles T. Thrift, Jr., took his undergraduate work 
and theological course at Duke University, and obtained 
the Ph. D. degree from the University of Chicago. He was 
a teacher of Southwestern University before accepting his 
present position of Professc^i' of Religion at Florida South- 
ern College. His field of specialization is the history of 
Christianity in America. 


By Henry Nelson Wieman 
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

We are not asking what is essential Christianity as 
over against the accidental husk. Much less are we inter- 
ested in what, if anything, is held in common by all Chris- 
tians, for the most common is rarely if ever the most 
excellent. Least of all are we trying to point out some- 
thing in Christianity which can be found nowhere else. We 
are seeking w^hat is most important in our faith even 
though this most important feature might appear outside 
Christianity, as well as inside, and even though it might 
be displayed very rarely in Christian history and in the 
lives of only a few Christian people, and even though many 
might say that it is not inclusive of what is essential. On 
the other hand this most important element might be 
found nowhere save in the regions where Christianity has 
reached. It might be a deep undercurrent running through 
all Christian history and it might be what some w^ould 
call essential Christianity. The point is that these are 
subordinate questions which do not concern us here. We 
only want to know what is most important in oui" religious 
heritage and must not predetermine or pervert our eval- 
uation by these other questions. 

We shall not take space to discuss all the different 
views that have been held concerning what is most impor- 
tant and then range our own along with them and show 
the agreements and disagreements. This would be a 
worthy and scholarly undertaking. But for the present 
we shall be content with stating as clearly as we know 
how what we think is most important and then let our pres- 
entation justify itself or provoke disagreement as the case 
may be. 

We suggest at the start that the most important ele- 
ment in Christianity is the forgiveness of sin. A complex 


of events occurring in the Greco-Roman world, in wliicli 
the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ v^ere 
central, released into history and into the lives of all men 
who are able to receive it, a dynamic, creative process var- 
iously called the Holy Spirit or the Living Christ, or the 
Grace of God, whereby it became possible to overcome 
man's resistance to God without destroying the resisters. 
This is the forgiveness of sin. It is the way of grace as 
over against the way of the law. 

Sin is anything in the conduct of human living wliich 
resists the creativity of God. When sin is unforglven, (cod 
cannot overcome this resistance except by destroying the 
individual or group which does the resisting. When sin 
is forgiven the resistance is still present but God caii over- 
come it without destroying the individuals or groupi; con- 
cerned. The one is sin unto death, the other is sin not 
unto death. This second is the power of God unto salva- 
tion. It is the grace of God in Christ Jesus whereby we 
know the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of liis 
sufferings, being conformed unto his death. 

All this will not make sense until we clarify tijree 
things : the nature of this creativity of God ; the nature of 
man's resistance to it which is sin; the conditions which 
must be met in order that this creativity may ovei/nme 
the resistance without destroying the resisters. 

The Creativity of God 

Suppose Mr. Box and Mr. Cox are brought into asso- 
ciation with one another. If the situation is at all favor- 
able, they will talk or make some signs. Not only that, but 
all manner of interactions, conscious and unconscious, will 
occur between them. Much of this interaction will be quite 
unintended, impulsive and spontaneous but unavoidable in 
the situation. In consequence of all this interaction the 
3nind of each will be transformed to some degree. Each will 
become a participant in the life of the other. Habits, 
thoughts, words, impulses and feelings of Mr. Box will be- 
come supplementary to those of Mr. Cox. The same will 


be true of Mr. Cox in relation to Mr. Box. The behavior, 
feelings, and ideas of each will become a fragment of a 
larger whole, incomplete without the reciprocal and com- 
plementary behavior of the other. The expressions of 
each will enrich the life of the other, meaning by enrich- 
ment not merely pleasant feelings but greater vividness 
and variety of feelings, some of which may be very painful. 
It is important to note that our awareness of the badness 
of evil (which generally involves the kind of feeling we 
call suffering) is just as great a good as our appreciation 
of the goodness of what is excellent. The point is that 
this interaction between persons widens and deepens the 
appreciative consciousness. It makes us more alive, it 
makes life more abundant, it increases the qualitative rich- 
ness of conscious experience. Greater heights and depths 
of positive and negative evaluation enter our experience 
because of such interactions. No other contact is so enrich- 
ing as this of interaction between persons when it is free, 
spontaneous and abundant. 

What we have been describing is creative of all that 
is distinctively human in man. All the relevant sciences 
would support us in this claim, particularly that science 
which makes this matter its peculiar field of study, namely 
social psychology. This kind of interaction creates and 
transforms progressively the human mind, human purpose 
and ideals, and all human values. We suffer great im- 
poverishments and decline in all that is distinctively human 
when we try to control it so as to fulfill what we are now 
able to appreciate, because it creates and transforms our 
appreciations. We cannot harness it to our own purposes 
because it creates and transforms our purposes. In that 
sense it is more than human. It is going on in us and 
around us all the time, although it may sink to a dying 
trickle or rise to great volume. It is so commonplace that 
we scarcely pay any attention to it. It is the most won- 
derful thing in the world and yet is so intimately and per- 
sistently with us that we scarcely ever take any note of it 
nor of what it is doing to us. 


Even enemies when brought into association interact 
in such a way that the words, actions and feelings of each 
generate and enrich the meanings, the feelings, the actions 
of the other. Associated individuals may do everything in 
their power to prevent and destroy the growth of these 
connections whereby they become members one of another 
and may succeed in keeping this mutuality down to the 
minimum. But unless they break off all association, or 
utterly annihilate one another, some such interactions, 
transformative and creative of the personalities and 
groups involved, will develop between them despite all that 
they can do. Each will derive from the other meaning, 
imagery and qualitative richness of feeling which will widen 
and deepen his consciousness of good and evil. This inter- 
action will recreate the mind of both so that they will 
become adjuncts of one another. 

Even when great modern, industrialized nations are at 
war each trying to annihilate the other, this interaction 
of mutual support and enrichment cannot entirely be cut 
off. It is recorded that during the first world war France 
and Germany could not have continued to carry on the 
conflict against one another if there had not been a con- 
tinuous stream of interchange by way of Luxembourg 
whereby one provided coal to the other, and the second 
gave iron to the first. And this is only a very small illus- 
tration of the material and spiritual reciprocation which 
goes on all the while between nations engaged in mortal 
combat whereby more abundant life for each and both is 
created, even when each uses this enriched and magnified 
life to destroy life faster than creativity can create it. 

Certainly this creative interaction between persons and 
nations, between groups and sensitive organisms of every 
kind, is by no means so full and free as it should be. Per- 
haps nowhere in all the vast expanse of human and sub- 
human living do we find so tragic and awful a contrast 
between what might be and what actually is, as we find 
here between the amount of creative interaction which does 
occur and what might. Men, and all living things for that 


matter, are so torpid ! They are so fearful of one another, 
and with good cause! They are so vain and self-centered, 
so preoccupied with the impression they are making that 
they cannot interact with the freedom and fullness that 
yields abundant life! They are so envious and so jealous! 
They are so dull, so fixated, so stupid in ways that could 
be remedied ! We are so secretive and so covered with pro- 
tective armor plate, that creative interaction is kept down 
to the minimum. The fixative, protective and malignant 
patterns of behaviors which dominate all living seem at 
times to crush the life out of creativity. And yet, when 
one is observant and thinks about it, it is amazing how 
much of this kind of interaction is able to break through 
all the obstructive and destructive armament of life. 

Let us state the nature of this creative interaction or 
creativity in general and comprehensive terms and present 
it in such a way that it becomes open to daily observation. 
It is the growth of connections between sensitive organ- 
isms, all the way from cells and plant spores to human 
personalities and groups, which transforms the participant 
individuals so that they interact in mutual support and 
mutual enrichment. The enrichment, of course, does not 
begin until the sensitive organisms become conscious, for 
we mean by enrichment increase in the vividness and va- 
riety of all the feelings which make up the qualities of 
conscious experience. 

This growth of connections which enriches life is sub- 
ject to three kinds of obstructions or perversions. They 
might be called the fixative, the protective and the malig- 
nant perversions. We see all three most strikingly today in 
the growth of connections between sovereign states. We 
see them in the psychoses of human personality. The most 
common example of maglinant growth in the biological or- 
ganism is cancer. But individual personalities, groups and 
whole cultures have no absolute value. They should rise 
or fall, come and go, live and die, according as may best 
serve the increase of creative interaction between individ- 
uals and groups. We are not suggesting that any human 


individual, class or other group is competent to judge 
when any other should be sacrificed. We are only saying 
that such sacrifice is right and good when creativity is 
thereby advanced. 

Creative interaction is the one and only absolute good 
against which all others must be measured because it is 
the generative source of all value. It is the creative origin 
of all richness of expei'ience as well as of personality and 
society. It is precisely this creative interaction which, for 
example, transforms the biochemical organism of the hu- 
man infant into a human personality. It is the creative 
work of God in the world. 

Nothing is truly good, no matter how much I desire it, 
unless it contributes to, and is an expression of, this inter- 
action between cells, organisms, personalties and groups, 
whereby mutual support and enrichment are magnified. 
Anything and everything becomes evil when it obstructs 
the growth of connections which sustain and stimulate 
such interaction. If, for example, I cling to good health 
with such tenacity and persistence that it prevents me 
from moving freely and fully into all connections which sus- 
tain and enrich life, I not only destroy my good health in 
the end, but whatever health I have becomes destructive 
of other goods. On the other hand, if I sustain and pro- 
mote my health only as it contributes to creative inter- 
action between cells, organisms, personalities and groups, 
it is a great and growing good. The same can be said of 
wealth, popularity, beauty, truth and every other alleged 
good. All specific values are in reality good only as they 
are expressions and forms of the growth of these connec- 
tions, and only when enjoyed and promoted as expressions 
of creativity. They are good only as they are held subject 
to the working of that interaction between individuals and 
groups which sustains, generates and enriches the appre- 
ciative consciousness of each. 

Even the continued existence of the individual is good 
only so long as it can undergo the transformations requir- 


ed by this enriching interaction between itself and others. 
When the individual can no longer undergo the transfor- 
mations of creativity by reason of physiological or psycho- 
logical or social inertia or decay or perversion, he should 
die, unless there is some hope that he can recover this ca- 
pacity. As human personalities we are both originally and 
continuously generated by God's creativity. We belong ulti- 
mately and absolutely to that creativity. There is nothing 
else to live for save for it. There is no ground or reason 
for our existence except as we belong to it. We destroy our 
humanity and all the meaning and value of life whqn we 
break connections with it. 

This creativity of God which w^e have been describing 
is not, of course, peculiar to Christianity. It is to be 
found at work everywhere that man exists and even be- 
yond, wherever sensitive organisms exist. But we must 
understand this working of God in order to see what is 
the most important element in Christianity. We said that 
this most important component is the forgiveness of sin 
which means the setting up of conditions whereby it is 
possible for God's love to overcome man's resistance with- 
out destroying the resister. God's love is this creativity. 

God's "judgment" or ''wrath" is inseparable from his 
love. It is, indeed, the same thing but working under dif- 
ferent conditions. God's love is the growth of connections 
whereby individuals and groups become mutually enrich- 
ing members of a shared life. It is what we have just 
been describing as creativity. God's wrath is the mutual 
destructiveness of such individuals and groups when they 
are drawn closer together by these connections but resist 
the transformation which is required by the life of mutual 
enrichment within these closer bonds of interdependence. 
Such mutual destructiveness (the wrath of God) is an ob- 
vious fact in the world today. The closer draw the cords 
of love, the more destructive of one another do men become 
when they resist the transformation imposed by these 
closer connections and required in order to interact within 
these closer connections with mutual support and mutual 


enrichment. The present war is an excellent exampL: oC 

God's forgiveness is accomplished by setting up condi- 
tions whereby it is possible to circumvent this mutual de- 
structiveness and transform sinners despite their re.=5.;>i- 
ance to God's love. To see how this is accomplished by 
the life and death and resurrection of Christ v/hen jvWned 
w^ith the continuing practice of confession and repentai'ce 
of sin, we must look a little closei- at the natuie of man's 

Man's Sin 

Sin is any blockage to the creativity of God arising 
from the way man conducts his living. The most deadly 
sin is that which is unconscious and unintended. If one 
wishes to reserve the word sin for conscious and aelib irate 
transgression, then we must invent another word to desig- 
nate that evil arising out of man's way of living which is 
most destructive of life and of all the goods of life, in the 
clutch of which man is most helpless and from whicb. !.e 
most desperately needs salvation. All this is so because it 
is quite obvious that when man i^ fully conscior-.s of d:.>ing 
what is obstructive to the generative source of all good, 
he is well on the road to deliverance from it. It is the 
unconscious, unintended resistance to God's love which has 
on man the hold of death. 

Sin is the clinging to anything, or the striving after 
anything, when such clinging or striving prevents one 
from undergoing the transformations involved in creative 
interaction. When connections have been formed between 
individuals and groups requiring such interactions, they 
become mutually destructive or mutually impoverishing 
when they resist the transformation which they must uh- 
dergo to interact in the required way. Any social sLvuc- 
ture, any ideal or moral code, any institution or other 'ir- 
der of existence, which men uphold or promote, becomes 
sinful just as soon as that upholding or promoting ob- 
structs creativity, which is to say, obstructs the mutual 
transformations of enriching interaction. Obviously in a 


world like ours a vast amount of this obstructiveness to 
creativity is inevitable, due to the inability of individuals 
and groups to undergo the transformations involved in 
creative interaction. 

The art of living plainly indicates that this creativity 
must be the one and only object of absolute religious com- 
mitment. Everything else must be sought or held or re- 
linquished according to the requirements of this. If need 
be one must come to love what now he hates, seek what 
now he dreads, fight what now he cherishes, destroy what 
now he upholds. No other tie can be absolute save only 
this commitment to creativity. This alone can be sovereign 
over life. For the Lord thy God is a jealous God and 
human life can have but one ruling devotion. No other 
loyalty, no other love, no desire, satisfaction, hope, fear 
or dread must stand against this. One must be free to 
move with creativity, giving up anything or taking any- 
thing. In this way only is found freedom and all the 
riches of value. Any other way leads to impoverishment 
and destruction of value. Every other way is the way of 
sin. Plainly our hope is not that we shall be sinless but 
that our sins shall be forgiven. 

This necessity of making creativity sovereign in any 
life which would experience value abundantly, and the cor- 
relative necessity of being able to give up any specific 
good according as creativity may require, can be illus- 
trated by a rather mechanical device. Suppose a lofty and 
spacious building from the ceiling of which is suspended a 
cable. At the end of the cable is a parachutist's harness 
in which you are strapped. The game is to swing high and 
wide on this cable for it represents creativity or the form- 
ing of connections between individuals whereby they are 
so transformed as to be mutually enriching in their be- 
havior, their feelings, thoughts and words. To swing on 
the cable, however, one must have pull-ropes. So ropes 
extend inward from the sides of the building to where 
you hang suspended. Each rope has on its end a ring 
which you can seize and thus pull yourself this way and 


that. One rope represents the specific vahie of health, 
another that of wealth, another popularity, anothei' good 
looks, another knowledge or education, another some spe- 
cific love, another some friendship, and so on indefinitely. 
Now as long as one can pull on his health or his wealth 
or any other of these ropes, and then let go of it, he can 
swing wide and high and free. But if he holds fast to these 
specific values, he cannot swing with creativity. If, worst 
of all, ho takes a cord and ties himself to health, to wealth, 
to popularity, to any or all of these, it is plain that he 
cannot swing. He can only jiggle about in one locality. 

One must be able to let go of every specific good if he 
is going to live under the sovereign control of creativity. 
And the strange thing is that when one holds fast to his 
popularity or some particular friendship or love or specific 
loyalty with such persistence and tenacity that he cannot 
move with the ever changing formation of connections 
which yield enrichment, he is much more likely to lose that 
good to which he clings than when he is not so bound to it. 
Stranger still, perhaps, he cannot fully appreciate and en- 
joy the values of health and wealth and love and all the 
rest when he is overly anxious about them or considers 
any of them a necessary good. Only when he can let go of 
them, only when he can draw upon them and then release 
them, as may be required by the forming of connnections 
which transform him and others, can he experience the 
real value in all these so-called values. As a matter of 
fact they are not values at all except as they promote the 
forming of those connections which elicit interactions 
which sustain and enrich. When death contributes more 
to creativity than continued life, then death is better than 
life. A human personality absolutely committed to creativ- 
ity and to nothing else, can in this way die with joy. We 
are always delivered unto death for Christ's sake, said 

I must die to all specific goods in order to be born 
again with this one and only tie whereby I hang suspended 
on one cable only, free to move with creativity through all 




things, whether it be life or death, or things present or 
things to come, or any other creature. Then I can do all 
things through Christ which strengtheneth me, meaning 
that I can let go of anything or take hold of anything as 
creativity may require. Then nothing can separate me from 
the love of God, for the love of God is precisely this form- 
ing of connections between me and others and between 
them and me whereby we are transformed from day to day 
and from glory unto glory. 

The Forgiveness of Sin 

In order for the working of God to overcome the ob- 
structions to creative interaction which are set up by in- 
ertia, fear and malignancy of men three things are re- 

(1) Creative interaction between persons must be re- 
leased from confinement to any one set of structures or 
order of life in the sense that it shall be able to transform 
or create whatever organization may be required for mut- 
ual enrichment when wider or deeper association between 
individuals and groups may occur. This first condition 
for the forgiveness of sin was partially met in the Roman 
Empire by the intermingling of races, the interpenetration 
of cultures, the interchange between diverse tribal pat- 
terns and races. In this way the individual and the group 
was somewhat released from the coercive and absolute con- 
trol of any one order of life, which for the Jew meant 
the law. In this way it became possible (although by 
no means fully actual) that persons could interact dif- 
ferently from the prescribed ways of the ancestral pattern 
when creativity might require. It was a situation favor- 
able to the creation of new orders and to meet the 
requirements of wider, freer, richer creative interaction 
between members within the same group or with men who 
under other circumstances would be considered "out- 

But in itself alone all this was not sufficient. A second 
condition was required and after that a third. 


(2) The second condition which had to be met in ord ^1- 
that sins be forgiven was that a psychological, social his- 
torical process get under way which would make creativity 
potent and sovei'eign over the lives of a few (at least ) so 
that no hope or dream, no ideal or order of existence could, 
exercise equal control over them. This was accomp^islied 
by the life, crucifixion and resui'rection of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus during his life developed in a small group a 
height and depth and richness of creative interacti»>n that 
was unique. Perhaps he attained one of the high points 
in history in this respect. In any case it was something 
more wonderful than anything those simple peasants had 
ever experienced. Nevertheless it never broke free of the 
established patterns of their Hebrew heritage as long as 
Jesus lived. They continued to dream and hope that Jesus 
would establish a kingdom and they with him would sit 
upon thrones and rule the world as Hebrew tradition pre- 

The crucifixion cracked this structure of existence and 
possibility, this order of dream and practice, which had 
been the framework within which their creative inter- 
action had heretofore occurred. It did not destroy the 
control which was exercised over their lives by the law 
and order of Hebrew tradition, but it loosened somewhat 
further its absolute coerciveness and sovereignty. It did 
this by destroying their hope and even, for a little while, 
the creative interaction which they had had in fellowship 
with one another when Jesus was with them. With the 
crucifixion Jesus failed them utterly. They had hoped that 
he was the messiah. But he died miserably upon a cross 
and was wholly unable to be or to do what their Hebrew 
Av-ay of life prescribed for him. It was one of the most 
complete "blackouts," one of the most miserable "wash- 
outs," that men ever experienced. Hope and promise was 
so high, disillusionment so complete. Everything was 
gone. Nothing was left for them to live for. The hope 
of Israel and the marvelous creative interaction which had 


been theirs, all disappeared in the black-out of the cruci- 

But after the numbness and the despair had lasted for 
about three days, a miracle happened. That kind of inter- 
action which Jesus had engendered among them came back. 
They found themselves interacting with one another and 
with other people in that marvelous way which had only 
happened when Jesus was in their midst. 

This was the resurrection. Jesus had initiated a kind 
of creative interaction which went beyond anything men 
had known before, or at any rate beyond anything these 
men had known before. But now, after it had seemed to 
be destroyed by his death, it rose again from the dead and 
was with them. It was not the resurrection from the 
grave of one hundred and sixty pounds, more or less, of 
the flesh and of the blood of the N'azarene. No, it was not 
the resurrection of the poundage of meat and bone which 
pertained to the man Jesus, but it was the resurrection of 
that height and depth and richness of creativity which only 
the physical presence of Jesus had heretofore been able to 
engender. But more than that was involved. The power 
of the resurrection was the power of a creativity on the 
way to being liberated from bondage to the law, which is 
to say, liberated from any limitations imposed by any 
structure of society, any organization of personality, any 
form of existence. That does not mean that there can be 
creative interaction apart from some social structure, some 
organization of society, some form of existence. But it 
means a creativity that can transcend any structure, or- 
ganization and form by transforming what has heretofore 
been attained and creating structures which have never 
yet been experienced and doing this without known limit. 

Thus the new creativity which issued into history from 
the crucifixion and the resurrection was a creative inter- 
action which could break through the bounds of the law 
and thereby forgive sin. That is to say, it could overcome 
man's resistance to creativity without destroying the re- 


sisters, providing they met one further condition which is 
repentance, to be discussed later. It was the unlimited 
grace of God. It could occur not only between the circum- 
cised but between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, 
which is a symbolic way of saying that it need not be con- 
fined to any one way of living, any one order of society, 
any one kind of people, any one set of ideals. It could 
occur between Jew and Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, bond 
and free, rich and poor, foolish and ignorant, high and low. 
It could be creative and transformative of every structure 
of existence and way of living to whatsoever measure 
might be required by the utmost mutual enrichment of 
creative interaction. 

It took some time for the theory and the established 
practice of this new way of living to become formulated 
and recognized. Hence the vacillation of Peter and the 
controversy between Paul and the Judaizers and, for that 
matter, all the vacillation, compromises, regressions, fixa- 
tions, heresy hunting, witch-burning and other sorry 
spectacles of Christian history. We repeat, what here con- 
cerns us is not what is universal among Christians but 
something which is the most important element in their 
history, no matter how rare it may be, nor how faint and 
discontinuous may be the thread of its historic existence. 

One further thing should be said about this matter of 
the resurrection. When people have had a strange and 
wonderful experience in dealing with a certain person, the 
vivid recurrence of that experience, even when the person 
is no longer physically present, will give them a profound 
sense of the real presence of that one. If the experience is 
sufficiently vivid and unique, and if it has never hereto- 
fore occurred except in association with that one person, 
then its occurrence will almost inevitably create the illusion 
that the person involved is now physically here. In such 
case, some will very likely think that they see and feel and 
hear the face and hands, the body, wounds, and voice of 
this person. This is a well known characteristic of human 
psychology. After the experience has been retold several 


times by a sequence of reporters, the illusion will become 
like an established fact of history. But the important 
thing about the resurrection was not an illusion. The im- 
portant thing about the resurrection was not the avoirdu- 
pois offlesh that had been crucified, but it was the resur- 
rection of a cr^' • "} to overcome the 
resistance of men without destroying the men and groups 
who resisted. It was the power of God unto salvation. 

The creativity of God had at last broken free and now 
issued into history by way of a continuing social process 
of creative interaction. It had broken free of every social 
structure, form of existence, system of values, goal, hope 
and ideal of men. It was free of these, we repeat, not in 
the sense that it could operate apart from some such struc- 
tures, but free in the sense that it could now transform 
and create structures suited to its need. It was no longer 
confined to the law, meaning any established system of so- 
cial organization and patterns of behavior. It could tran- 
scend any and all of these in the sense of creating whatever 
modifications it might require. Again we must repeat 
that such new creations can never be the work of human 
intelligence because human intelligence naturally is limited 
to that totality of ideal structures available to it at any 
given time, while creativity is precisely the introduction of 
new structures not previously available to intelligence. 
Such innovations come by way of creative interaction be- 
tween individuals and groups. This is a common fact of 
experience and generally recognized by all the relevant 

The creativity of God had at last broken free of the 
law and issued into history with power to save beyond the 
law through the co-working of the social situation in the 
Roman Empire with the life, death and resurrection of 
Jesus Christ. After this any man might cry: I count all 
things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus my Lord, for which I have suffered the 
loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may 
win Christ (the unlimited creativity of God) and be found 


in him ; not having a righteousness of mine own, even that 
which is of the law, but the righteousness which is through 
faith in Christ, a righteousness from God by faith ; that 
I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the 
fellowship of his suffering, being conformed unto his 

Confession and Repentance of Sin 

There is, however, a third condition which must be met 
before the power of God unto salvation is free to work 
without limit in delivering men from that sin which is un- 
to death. It is repentance. Why it is a necessary condi- 
tion becomes apparent as soon as we see what is involved. 

The confession and repentance of sin means three 
things. It means, first, to recognize that my personality 
at depths far below the reach of consciousness at any given 
time is patterned and structured by an organization which 
does resist the transformations required for that fullness 
of creative interaction demanded by the connections I have 
with other people. Since I do not undergo the required 
transformation, I interact with them in ways that are mut- 
ually impoverishing and mutually destructive. Some of 
this destructiveness I see. Much of it escapes my focus of 
attention and my capacity for sensitive appreciation. But 
I know enough about life and about myself to know that it 
does occur. To recognize this fact about myself, and to 
realize the depth and tragedy of evil that is involved in it, 
is to confess my sin. 

Confession and repentance of sin mean, in the second 
place, that I shall resolve repeatedly, and with all the 
depths of sincerity that is in me, to hold myself subject to 
every transformation creative interaction may require, no 
matter what pain, death or loss such changes may involve. 
I do this because I know that in this I am gainer in every 
way along with God and everyone else who ma>' l>e iji- 
volved. I and all are gainers because in so far as I do 
yield to such transformation, and in so far as I am the re- 
sponsible agent in each situation, I become the medium 


and the expression of that creativity which is the gener;.- 
tive source of all the values that can ever be experienced. 

Confession and repentance of sin mea^i in th'^ third 
place that I shall search out every habit, every object of 
desire, fear, hope and dread, that I can at all suspect to 
be recalcitrant to creative interaction, and resolve that 
each one shall be taken from me or given to me, according 
as creative interaction may require. Nothing shall be mine 
except as I receive it from the creativity of God. Nothing 
shall be held back by me when the creativity of God would 
take it away. Everyone who practices this kind of commit- 
ment to creativity will become aware of certain desires, 
habits, propensities in himself that resist the transforma- 
tion necessary to fruitful interaction with things and per- 
sons and groups. These specific patterns of behavior in 
himself he will not fight directly, for that may only make 
their hold upon him more tenacious. But he will take them 
one by one and resolve that each shall be given over to the 
creative process of transformation as it arises in the con- 
crete situations into which he enters day by day and hour 
by hour. He will seek to formulate and develop whatever 
habits, propensities and cherished objectives may produce 
in himself the kind of personality that can move freely and 
fully with all the transformations and fulfilments of crea- 
tivity in each concrete situation as it develops. 

If this interpretation of the confession and repentance 
of sin be correct it should be apparent, without further 
argumentation, that it is a third condition which must be 
met before the creativity of God is free to work freely and 
fully beyond the bounds of the law to save each sinner 
from that sin which is unto death. 

We have tried to point out w^hat we hold to be the most 
important element in Christianity. We have called it the 
forgiveness of sin. It is to be understood, however, not in 
the form of some static decree nor as a jurisdical pro- 
nouncement. WTien it is so understood, it is falsified, we 
think. Rather it is a dynamic reality working in history. 


in society and in each personality who has been touched 
by this dynamic, social, historical process and who meets 
the condition of repentance. 

Let us summarize. The life, crucifixion and resurrec- 
tion of Jesus Christ released the creative work of God from 
obstructions which had elsewhere limited its operations. 
The ci-eative work of God is the transformation of indi- 
viduals and groups by way of interaction so that they 
progressively sustain and enrich one another. Interaction 
may be impoverishing and destructive but creative inter- 
action is the opposite. It generates the qualitative riches 
of conscious experience with all the meanings, imagery, 
feeling and vivifying sense data of consciousness. It re- 
leases the appreciative consciousness from bondage to 
special goods so that it may range more widely and deep- 
ly. Its work is obstructed and perverted by the inertia of 
the world and the sin of man. In order to overcome these 
perversions and obstructions it must have a medium 
through which to work in the form of a community of per- 
sons, however, few they may be. This community must 
be made up of persons who commit themselves absolutely 
to the transformative working of the creativity of God. 
The Roman Empire, combined with the life, death and 
resurrection of Jesus Christ and the practice of repentance, 
created such a community of interacting persons. This 
community is not the church as an institution but it is 
made up of certain interacting individuals who have made 
this absolute commitment. 

Thus the released and unlimited creativity of God 
reaches us through Jesus Christ. Perhaps it may be found 
through other religions. Perhaps not. It is not our part 
to pronounce judgment on that point. We only say that 
Christianity is the way by which it reaches us and that it 
is the best and greatest reality to be found in our Chris- 
tian heritage. 



By Kathleen W. Mac Arthur 

Hollins College, 

Hollins, Virginia 

The man of high ethical ideals and the Christian, in 
particular, is doubly distressed in time of war, for added 
to the sense of desolation he shares in common with his 
fellows over the destruction of things and ideals long held 
precious, is the special conflict within his own mind and 
heart. He is intellectually baffled and emotionally dis- 
turbed as his human sympathies clash with his moral and 
religious training over the ideas or the course of action 
which is "right" for him to support. During the last quar- 
ter century particular emphasis has been laid upon the 
Christian's duty to labor for peace, to regard war with in- 
tense horror as not only inhuman but "unchristian," and 
to bring himself as nearly as possible into that frame of 
mind and general attitude known as "pacifism." But when 
he comes into realization of the consequences of this posi- 
tion at such a time as the world now faces, he begins to 
have grave doubts as to the efficacy of his beliefs, and new 
fears as to the results of its practice. 

This conflict in his own conscience reflects a similar 
lack of direction among the external authorities he is ac- 
customed to consult, such as the teachings of Jesus, the 
authority of the Bible, the writings of the religious leaders 
of all times. When the Christian seeks guidance from 
these authorities, and clear direction for thought and ac- 
tion, he is confronted by contradictions and differing inter- 
pretations created by literary and historical problems, to- 
gether with uncertainties due to developmental changes in 
the historv and teaching of Christianity. The character of 
these \A. . s. s is rendered still more doubtful ])y reason of 
their flexibility in the hands of those who can make Bible, 


Church, and historic teaching mean whatever is useful to 
their special purpose. 

This is true, of course, of all ethical problems, but espe- 
cially, because of its "emergency" character, is it true in 
regard to the problem of war, that is, of armed resistance 
to undesired events. The same text in the Bible, the same 
passage in the writings of the Church Fathers, the same 
official publications of the Churches, can be made to but- 
tress any shade of pacifist or militarist belief, or to neu- 
tralize and offset other passages of appai-ently equal au- 
thority. The result is that the bewildered Christian is left 
without a chart for the perilous voyage of his spirit 
through the troubled seas of contemporary events. 

How puzzling this problem has been, not alone for the 
average Christian layman, but for the leaders of thought 
and the pacemakers in morals throughout the whole of 
Christian history, is seen in a dramatic way as one reviews 
the history of the famous section in the "Sermon on the 
Mount" which contains that troublesome injunction, "Love 
your enemies." In the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel 
are collected a number of trying and challenging phrases: 
^'Resist not injury"; "turn the other cheek"; "let him have 
your cloak also" ; "go two miles with him" ; but none is 
more difficult to deal with than "Love your enemies." 

If one asks, "why should I love my enemies," the an- 
swer is clear so far as the gospel is concerned, "that ye 
may be the children of your Father in Heaven" ; the mo- 
tive is the achievement of God-like character. 

Paul's letter to the Romans offers a specific instance of 
such love for the enemy, "If thine enemy hunger, feea 
him" ; the Christian is hard put to it to know whether this 
should apply to blockades. The motive here is somewhat 
different, to change the enemy into a friend, as contrasted 
with Jesus' emphasis on the improvement m one's own 
chai'acter that is the outcome of non-resistance and good- 
will. Whatever the motive, the difficulty of loving one's 
enemies remains. 


Outside of the New Testament the writings of the 
Church Fathers convey the same impression of confusion 
and uncertainty as to the Christian's duty. From Clement 
of Alexandria to Thomas Aquinas the literature of the 
Christian Church is a happy hunting ground Tor llie text- 
monger who proves by statements unrelated to their con- 
text, or unsupported by historical or literary canons, what- 
ever he wishes to prove. 

Cyprian, for instance, exhorts the martyrs neither to re- 
fuse warfare nor to fear to be slain. Irenaeus, in his famous 
essay, "Against Heresies," urges that Christians undertake 
willingly what will probably be laid upon them as neces- 
sity. Tertullian exhorts Christians to stand and fight 
rather than seek escape in flight or by bribery. "Is it 
really so very sad to die?" he asks. "More glorious is the 
soldier pierced with a javelin in battle than he who ha? 
a safe skin as a fugitive. A Christian ought not to fear 
man. He is Christ-clothed, therefore escape neither by 
flight nor by buying off, but stand fast." 

Augustine's treatment of the Sermon on the Mount as- 
serts the figurative character of the teaching. "To obey 
the command, 'Love your enemies' is always to wish well 
to and do good to the man who wishes you ill." He con- 
tinues however, "Seeing that this is a frame of mind only 
reached by the perfect sons of God, and that though every 
believer ought to strive after it, and bj' prayer to God and 
earnest struggling within himself, endeavor to bring his 
soul up to this standard," yet this calls for a degree of 
goodness so high that it "can hardly belong to so great a 
multitude as those who use the petition, 'Forgive us ... . 
as we forgive.' " In view of this, Augustine feels that the 
command is fulfilled if a man, though he has not yet at- 
tained to loving his enemy, "yet when asked to forgive one 
who has offended, does forgive him from his heart." 

The religious literature of the Middle Ages, being con- 
cerned largely with theological reconstruction and sys- 
tematization, does not offer much comment on the theme. 


but in the famous "Summa Theologiae" of Thomas Aquinas 
the question appears, "whether it is more meritorious to 
love an enemy than a friend," and the answer is, "Yes, be- 
cause we may love a friend for other reasons than God, and 
God is the only reason for loving an enemy. Love to God 
is all the stronger for loving our enemies." 

Among the leaders of the Reformation, John Calvin, as 
might be expected, uses the injunction of Christ to restrain 
the individual in his attitudes and actions. Retaliation is 
not for the individual Christian. He must bear all and not 
seek revenge, "for it truly behooves Christiaris to be a peo- 
ple as it were formed to bear injuries and reproaches, ex- 
posed to the iniquity, injustices, and ridicule of the worst 
of mankind . . . and to be patient under all these evils — 
expecting nothing all their lifetime but to bear a perpetual 

Yet Calvin does not consider this teaching incompatible 
with seeking the assistance of a magistrate for the preser- 
vation of property, the redressing of wrongs, or bringing 
offenders to justice. The point he makes is that only di- 
vinely commissioned princes and magistrates may execute 
justice or redress wrongs. The individual Christian must 
not retaliate or resist, but meditate on his own sins and 
pray God for deliverance from his oppressors. 

In the early years of the Reformation, Protestants — 
Lutheran and Calvinist alike — stood for the principle of 
non-resistance, and patient endurance of oppression, per- 
mitting individual Christians the right, or at most the 
duty, of passive resistance only, in the case of those pow- 
ers which "opposed the will of God." 

This doctrine served well enough as long as the Protes- 
tant movement had the support of the ruling powers. But 
with changes in fortune came changes in belief, or at any 
rate in the interpretation placed upon the sources of belief. 
The Puritan doctrine of the right of resistance to tyranny, 
to the point of revolution even, is the product, not of Cal- 
vinism alone, but much more of the logic of events. It was 


only later, in the teaching of John Knox, that the duty of 
armed resistance to tyrants was clearly asserted. 

Characteristic of eighteenth century Rationalism is 
Bishop Butler's analysis of the principle of resentment and 
its function in human life. Since God endows man with 
the capacity for resentment it cannot be evil, indeed it is 
given man for self-defense, but it must be regulated, and 
confined to its proper social uses "for the restraint of evil, 
as a witness in behalf of virtue, and to sensitize the human 
mind and heart toward wickedness and injustice." But- 
ler's emphasis is on the possibility of expressing just re- 
sentment "without losing the spirit of benevolence," and 
the way to do this is "to consider mankind as one body 
. . . and the exercise of resentment a social, not a personal 

In the late nineteenth century, the writings of Albrecht 
Ritschl had very great influence upon American religious 
thought. The problem of loving one's enemies was placed 
by him upon the basis of moral law; it was a matter of 
reciprocal human rights and duties, of private morality, 
and of mutuality within the Christian group. This em- 
phasis, followed by many Christians in this country, 
opened the way to removing the obligation almost entirely 
from the average man in his relations to his fellows, and 
this dangerous opportunity for evasion of the duty to love 
one's enemies has been given full scope. 

A side-glance at the religious literature of Revolutionary 
days yields extremely interesting examples of the way in 
which the Sermon on the Mount can be, and has been, 
treated in times of political stress. 

In "The Pulpit of the American Revolution," (a collec- 
tion of political sermons preached on public occasions be- 
tween 1750 and 1783) the "absolute" character of the com- 
mand "resist not injury" is repudiated and it is made to 
refer to private injuries alone, and not to favor "a tame 
and passive submission to unjust tyrannical rulers." 


An Election Sermon by one Samuel West of Boston, 
dated 1776, is a frank pleading of the law of self-preserva- 
tion as "justifying opposition to cruel and tyrannical im- 
positions . . . except where opposition occasions greater 
evils than submission, as where the few oppose a powerful 
majority. . . The reason why the primitive Christians did 
not oppose persecution was because they were so few 
against so many heathens. To oppose them would have 
meant inevitable ruin and destruction. Hence the wise 
and prudent advice of our Savior, 'When they persecute 
you in one city, flee ye to another.' " 

It is ti'ue that this frank doctrine of expediency is not 
altogether borne out either by facts recorded as history, or 
by the teaching of some of the early Church leaders, but 
the arguments in the above sermons show the effect of en- 
deavor to get Biblical sanction for, or at least to avoid 
Biblical condemnation of, the American Revolution. 

It is obvious that the canons of interpretation as ap- 
plied in these volumes open the way to making the Sermon 
on the Mount do excellent service on either side of the ques- 
tion of non-resistance. 

It seems strange that the problem of definition of the 
word "love" in the context "Love your enemies" has re- 
ceived so little attention. An interesting attempt to do this 
appears in a sermon by Professor J, S. Riggs of Auburn 
Seminary, published in 1909. The danger of misinterpreted 
uses of it in Greek are explained. It is obvious that nat- 
ural spontaneous affection is not intended, for that would 
seem to put affection under law, in the form of a command 
to love, the very last thing that law can do. "Affection 
cannot be commanded. To love an enemy as we clo a friend 
is impossible." The second meaning is therefore intended, 
love in the sense of an act of will, of resolute and consis- 
tent good-will exerted against the natural currents of feel- 
ing; of anger, revenge and hate. The law of love is set in 
contrast to the natural tendency to love one's neighbor and 
hate one's enemy. Prayer for an enemy is no denial of the 


fact that he is an enemy, but the will to love must disci- 
pline the feeling of resentment. 

Among the pulpit utterances of World War I is one 
strikingly typical of the spirit of that time. It was pub- 
lished in "The Christian World Pulpit," and the command 
in Matthew chapter 5 is thrown into the form of a ques- 
tion, "Can we love our enemies?" The argument is based 
upon the distinction between private and personal versus 
public enemies. Injury to others calls for different action 
from that to oneself, is the contention. "When justice and 
truth are assailed, when innocence is outraged, weakness 
tortured . . . then love blazes into wrath, and righteousness 
leaps to smite in their defense. Then it becomes the impera- 
tive duty, not only of manhood but of religion, to resist and 
put down the iniquity." After a terrible indictment of the 
enemy war-lords the preacher concludes, "Thank God for 
angry men today. They bear a fiery gospel writ in rows 
of burnished steel. Until the enemy is conquered the only 
love we can show is the love of righteousness expressed in 
the thunder of guns and the flash of bayonets. For Christ 
is first the King of Righteousness and then Prince of 
Peace — an4 there is no forgiveness for men and nations 
who do not repent." 

Another interesting sermon from the above collection 
is entitled, "The Apparent Absurdity of the Sermon on the 
Mount." The preacher points out that the injunction 
"Love your enemies" is absurb "because to take it serious- 
ly would not only do away with armies and navies, but po- 
lice and locks and all forms of protection." But the ab- 
surdity, he insists, is in relation to our present state of 
civilization, and our present conceptions of law aicd order. 

The real problem is, what is to be the attitude of an in- 
dividual in such a state as we have now, and with such 
dynamic principles as are contained in this gospel. 

The literature of contemporary preaching- up to the 
opening of the present war yields very little comments on 
the theme of loving one's enemies. Perhaps the most posi- 


tive contribution, prior to the present war, is Harry E. 
Fosdick's essay, "The Second Mile," which he regards as a 
"dramatic presentation of this favorite characteristic truth 
of Jesus." The principle of the second mile, says Dr. Fos- 
dick, "is either stark nonsense or supernally divine sense. 
Only an unstinted willingness to do more than anyone can 
ask makes possible a liberal Christian character. Dr. Fos- 
dick then applies this principle to all the areas of humin 
experience, including the problem of war. 

This brief survey of the literature of Christianity on 
the theme, "Love your enemies," points to some of the rea- 
sons why the modern Christian is confused and perplexed 
when he seeks aid from Christian authorities in his con- 

The tentative and cautious way in which the exhorta- 
tion is used, and the way in which it can be interpreted to 
avoid its more difficult and exacting implications suggests 
the dubious value of this particular quotation as a guide 
to the conscience of the Christian when confronted with 
the need for decision as to what his religion teaches re- 
garding his attitude in time of war. 

It is true, of course, that in the actual crisis of war the 
State will probably settle his problem for him, unless he 
definitely opposes the State and takes the consequences. 
Economic necessity will also largely determine his course, 
and this is closely tied up with policies of State. But while 
he is still free to think and act, within the ordinary limits 
of free action, free to influence his government by his vote 
and voice, free to give some direction to public policy and 
the forming of public opinion, how is he to be guided in 
his personal choices? His Christian conscience may be 
confused for him by many extraneous forces as well as 
by the ancient conflict between his elemental emotions and 
his sense of duty. Christians today, after long condition- 
ing in the direction of pacifism, are haunted by serious 
doubts as to its efficacy as a technique for dealing with the 
kind of world that is so ruthlessly revealing its nature to 


them. In such a dilemma the Christian has a powerful 
ally in the very nature of his own religion if he will take 
the trouble to discover its true character and not be misled 
by his own indolence or ignorance into accepting ideas 
which incompletely describe the faith. 

This does not mean that among the many interpreta- 
tions of historic Christianity one interpretation in particu- 
lar must be followed. Rather, it means that the Christian 
must be especially on his guard today against one-sided, 
partial, and incomplete accounts of his inherited faith. 
Leaving aside all doctrinal questions, there are two as- 
pects of Christianity that have been not only neglected, but 
somewhat definitely opposed in recent years, w^hich are 
particularly desirable and necessary aspects for considera- 
tion amid our present problems. 

One of these aspects is the vigorous and dynamic char- 
acter of Christianity as opposed to the weak and hesitant 
tendency in recent emphasis ; the other is its rational char- 
acter and the demand it makes upon judgment and reason, 
as opposed to the contemporary accent upon the irrational, 
and the consequent wide-spread discrediting of reason in 
relation to religion and its ethical implications. This lat- 
ter creates particular problems in that it comes upon 
Christians from two directions, the direction of the revival- 
ist type of religion and the direction of the philosophical 
and theological neo-supernaturalist. Here one wishes to 
avoid conflict with those theologians wiio are today discuss- 
ing the Christian doctrine of man, and the relation between 
reason and revelation. 

Skirting around these dilemmas of thought we are able 
to discern resources in Christianity which the ordinary 
Christian may claim as his rightful heritage. 

In a quarter of a century we have stressed, if we have 
not practiced, the "softer" side of Christianity, the gen- 
tler virtues of forgiveness, kindness, brotherhood, love and 
we have allowed free license to all comers to discredit 
the use of reason, the virtues of the intellect, and the exact- 


ing demands of right judgment, in relation to religious ex- 
perience. The consequence is we have mentally and moral- 
ly disarmed ourselves and unnerved our generation, and 
now when we have sore need of the greatest certainty and 

the most effective incentives to action, we are uncertain as 
to our attitudes and paralyzed in action. Among some of 
t!ie more thoughtful religious leaders there is a growing 
demand for more emphasis upon the vigorous, decisive ele- 
ments in the Christian faith. P^or instance, we are re- 
minded, from various sources, of Maude Royden's sermon 
on "Pagan Virtues and Christian Graces," which stresses 
the need to remember that Christianitj' was not a soft re- 
ligion to begin with, and that Jesus appeared to take it for 
granted that men would have the basic pagan virtues of 
courage, justice, and endurance, to which were to be added 
the Christian arts of gentleness, mercy, forbearance, .and 
forgiveness. That this assumption was also part of the 
whole structure of early Christian life and thought is evi- 
dent not only by the actions of Christians under stress, but 
in much of early Christian literature from Paul to Augus- 
tine, which echoed in countless and various ways the in- 
junction to "endui'e hardly as good soldiers of Jesus 

With lives thus disciplined, every weight thrown aside, 
exhibiting the ancient virtues of justice, fortitude, selfless- 
ness, courage, developing a unique and effective type of 
personality, having toughness, durability, and devotion, the 
early Christians built, served, expanded, and defended the 
Christian Church. 

If now, we think of Christianity in these ampler and 
stronger terms, we have a much more potent answer to our 
question as to what the Christian should think and do in 
time of war. He is not left without allies in this struggle. 

He has a religion that can provide him with criteria of 
judgment as to what is ultimately desirable and valuable, 
and therefore worth striving for. 



He has the much-disparaged but highly essential pow- 
er of reason, which helps him to understand the implica- 
tions, not only of events as they occur, but of the basic 
philosophies proclaimed and followed by men of action so 
that he knows what reports are likely to be true, as meas- 
ured by those basic philosophies. 

He has the knowledge that permits him to see the deep 
roots of the problems that are constantly to the fore in our 
modern collective living, — the problem of the sovereign na- 
tion-state and the problem of economic inter-relations. 

The Christian is bound to see the inter-relatedness of 
the whole of life, and how the elemental drives of man, if 
undirected or misdirected, can wreck the lives of other 
men and of nations. He must see, for instance, that the 
elemental thirst for power is a constant danger as well as 
a potent creative force ; that the basis of the modern sov- 
ereign nation-state is inevitably a war basis so long as no 
part of that sovereignty is to be surrendered for the sake 
of peaceful relations with other states ; that the inescapable 
consequence of continued internal strains deep within the 
structure of a nation's economic and social life is prepara- 
tion of the soil for cultivation by subversive and discordant 
interests, and he will realize that these mighty forces are 
not kept in hand by the mere wish for peace. 

A more thorough and realistic view of the course of hu- 
man history, and the struggles of the Christian Church, 
would make the American Christian keenly aware of the 
dangers that attend lack of unity and of a common goal 
around which the life and thought of a nation and of the 
nations, can be unified. He will realize the need of think- 
ing past the ill-defined and amorphous surface of inherited 
democratic theories, to those deeper levels of common hu- 
man need and purpose, where the historic dualism of 
American political philosophy can be resolved. The dual- 
ism of isolationism and interventionism, springing from 
twin roots in American history, and symbolizing powerful 
elements in American character, must be brought to a 


unity based upon more fundamental spiritual realities if 
the nation is to be saved from divided and unpredictable 
policies. To close up this gap in our traditional thinking 
and to provide educational and social remedies for the er- 
ror that a dualistic political philosophy has already invited, 
is as much a part of Christian citizenship as are the more 
obvious religious technique for strengthening the nation 
and preventing war. 

If he is to be guided by religious considerations, the 
Christian must accept the implications of a religion that 
claims to believe in a Creator, for creativity suggests 
change of creative evolution. We must learn to live by a 
philosophy of change. The changes that are taking place 
all around us depress and alarm us ; partly because the di- 
rection of change is unknown to us and the method of 
change is brutal and violent. Possibly if we were more 
disposed to change in times of peace, less determined to 
maintain things at the fixed point of maximum comfort 
and convenience for the few, we might find the inevitable 
changes in history not so violent nor so hard to accept, nor 
so hopeless of being directed in accordance with our ideals 
as a people. 

A reasonable interpretation of the Christian faith would 
help men to avoid, not only the extremes of emotional re- 
action in all crises of public as well as private life, but 
would also teach them to abstain from over-indulgence in 
those hopes and expectations, those ideals and visions 
which, placed too far beyond present possibility of fulfill- 
ment, betray us into disillusionment and despair when such 
hopes and ideals are attacked and overwhelmed. The spirit- 
ual havoc created by war is one of its greatest tragedies; 
the destruction of ideals, the betrayal of hope and faith are 
among its most devastating results. But these spiritual 
tragedies might in part be averted were we to temper our 
idealism with reason, our visions with justifiable skepti- 
cism as to the magic or supernatural power of any system 
of thought or belief to work the miracle which alone can 
come to pass by man's whole intelligence applied in unre- 


mitting and disciplined endeavor for the common good. 
This is the only effective faith in God that man can rely 

The Christian who knows the history as well as the con- 
tent of his faith, is not easily put out of countenance by 
extreme pacifists who declare that the way of love has 
never been really tried as a preventive of war. He sees at 
once how unreasonable it is to suppose that a formula or 
a way of life we have never yet had the courage and the 
will to work out in time of peace could possibly be expected 
to work when suddenly applied to the irrationalities of 
peoples tensed for war. Until we have found the way to 
work out the law of love in the practical affairs of national 
life, in economics, in class and race relations, in the social 
struggle generally, we shall never know whether it will 
work or not ; we shall never have sufficient evidence of its 
validity to give us a reasonable hope that it will avail to 
prevent the tragedy of war. 

This more comprehensive view of his religion would 
convince the Christian, in the case of his conscience about 
war, that the "things and ideals" that are worth working 
for, worth giving his life to, worth teaching to others, 
worth the sacrifice of time and energy, thought and devo- 
tion, worth long years, life-times, generations, centuries of 
painful development and loyal devotion — these things and 
ideals ought surely to be worth defending. If they are not 
worth defending, even with our lives and goods, at the 
point of direct attack and open proclamation of intent to 
destroy them, it is a grave question whether the}' are 
worth all the pains we have been at to develop and conserve 
them. Values — whether in the form of objects or ideas — 
that can be surrendered at the first direct challenge in the 
fear that defending them may in itself be destructive, are, 
to say the least, so precarious as to be highly questionctble. 
Ideals and things tliat we cherish are neither self -creating 
nor self -preserving. If we regard it as our duty to create 
them, is it not also our duty to defend them? 


It is true, of course, that in defending them by fovce 
we see the very values we most prize threatened witii de- 
struction, as in the case of individual freedoms surrend- 
ered to the State in time of emergency such as earthquake, 
tornado, fire, flood, and war. But at least we need net 
supinely surrender them without an effort. If we. our 
ideals and values, go down together in common defeat, that 
is tragedy, but if we stand idly by under the mistaken be- 
lief that it is our religious duty not to resist, while the en- 
emy wantonly destroys all that we believe in, that is not to 
love our enemy, it is to be a voluntary participant in his 
destructive schemes. 

In a recent book by the British Prime Minister, Winston 
Churhill, there is set forth his own position regarding what 
course had best been taken in the last war. The Allies 
should, he thinks, have gone through to the finish with the 
task of completing the victory beyond all question, and 
then, all vindictiveness, revenge, hatred, and spite forgot- 
ten, should have given the right hand of fellowship to all 
the nations involved, should have supplied the economic 
needs of those in want, and have met around the council 
board in the spirit of justice and of mercy. Whether or 
not one agrees with this idea, it is a very good illustration 
of a practical method of combining the sterner and firmer 
qualities of Christian character with the developing sensi- 
tivity to the law of love in such a way as to lay the foun- 
dation for effective and constructive relations among men 
and nations. 

So regarded, there is definite and clear direction for 
the Christian in his painful dilemma about the problem of 
war, if he will seek until he finds the full and inclusive 
character of his Christian faith. 


By WiUiam Warren Sweet 

University of Chicago 

Chicago, Illinois 

The most disastrous divisions that have ever occurred 
in American Protestantism have been those which have 
come about as the result of the great slavery controversy. 
From about the year 1830 to the close of the Civil War the 
slavery issue dominated the political, the economic, the 
social and the religious thinking of the nation. These were 
also years of rapid expansion of the American churches. 
And those churches which succeeded in developing the 
most adequate methods of following population as it 
pushed westward, became as a result the most widely 
planted and evenly distributed religious bodies in the na- 
tion. Thus the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Metho- 
dists, the three most successful churches in American Pro- 
testantism, from the standpoint of gaining members, were 
to be found, more or less evenly distributed throughout the 
country, east and west, north and south. It was their even 
distribution throughout the entire nation which rendered 
these religious bodies particularly susceptible to sectional 
controversy. So it came about that when the slavery issue 
divided the nation into an anti-slavery North and pro-slav- 
ery South, these evenly distributed churches likewise di- 
vided into pro-slavery and anti-slavery divisions. Sectional 
churches, such as the Congregational, were able to avoid 
a slavery schism, because they had been from the begin- 
ning confined to one section, the North. 

Of the three evenly distributed churches the Presby- 
terians were the first to experience a major division. In 
1837-38 they divided into Old School and New School 
bodies. Slavery, however, was only one of several issues 
responsible for this first major schism in American Pro- 
testantism. Stated in its most general terms the causes of 


that division arose out of the stream of Cong-regational in- 
fluence which flowed into Presbyterianism as a result of 
the woi-king out of the Plan of Union of 1801, whereby the 
Presbyterians and the Congregationalists agreed to work 
together on the frontier. Nor was the Old School-New 
School division a clear-cut sectional split; but there is no 
doubt, however, in the light of recent studies of the issues 
involved, but that slavery played an important role in the 
final i-esult. By the opening of the Civil War the Presby- 
terians had suffered two additional divisions when both 
Old School and New School churches divided into southern 
and northern bodies. Thus where there had been one Pres- 
byterian church in 1836 there had come to be four in 1861. 
Unlike the Presbyterians, both the Baptists and the Metho- 
dists divided clearly over the slavery issue and by 1845 
this cleavage had resulted in creating distinct northern and 
southern bodies in both churches. 

It is not, however, the purpose of this article to tell the 
story of division, but rather to try to understand why the 
Methodists have been able to heal their long-standing sec- 
tional differences, w^hile neither the Baptists nor the Pres- 
byterians have been able to bring about that happy result. 
This I think can best be done by trying to discover the 
principal factors which have been responsible for achiev- 
ing Methodist unification, and then to inquire to what ex- 
tent these factors have been absent among Baptists and 


The healing of the sectional differences in all the 
churches might have been furthered immediately following 
the Civil War had it not been for the unfortunate recon- 
struction policies adopted by the federal government and 
the concurrence in those policies, to a large extent, by all 
the northern churches. At the close of the war the north- 
ern churches pretty generally looked upon the South as a 
mission field, and instead of attempting to bring about 
some degree of co-operation with the southern brethren in 
meeting the peculiar problems of the post-war South, they 


began an aggressive policy of southern expansion. They 
were particularly active in carrying on work among the 
freedmen and more often than not in such a manner as to 
arouse southern resentment. The southern activity of the 
northern churches, however, was not confined entirely to 
the Negroes. This was particularly true of the Methodists, 
who began at once to form conferences in those regions in 
the South where a strong Union sentiment had persisted. 
This invasion of the South by northern Methodists was 
somewhat matched by the southern Methodist invasion of 
the North, particularly on the Pacific coast. And in the 
long run, perhaps the presence of southern Methodists in 
the North and northern Methodists in the South was to 
prove one of the factors in creating better understanding, 
particularly after the passing of the reconstruction years. 

There was a considerable amount of talk at the close 
of the Civil War of reunion of the churches North and 
South, particularly on the part of certain northern leaders. 
This was at first generally resented in the South. The 
southern Methodist bishops in a pastoral letter issued in 
August, 1865, pointed out that "the talk of reunion of the 
two churches" is but a systematic attempt "already in- 
augurated .... to disturb and if possible disintegrate 
and then absorb our membership individually. . . . Their 
(Methodist Episcopal) policy is eventually our division and 
ecclesiastical devastation." This opinion was concurred 
in by all the southern annual conferences as well as by all 
the southern church papers. That this represented the 
position of certain northern Methodists is doubtless true, 
but the best leadership of the North was soon to manifest 
a very different attitude toward their southern brethren. 

The first step toward a better understanding was 
taken by the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
at their episcopal meeting in 1869, when they sent three 
of their number to bear fraternal greetings to the southern 
bishops. This was the first exchange of such greetings 
since the separation in 1845, and led to the inauguration 
of the custom of exchanging fraternal delegates at the 


general conferences of the two Methodist bodies. The firsr 
exchange was made at the general conferences of 1872 and 
1874 i-espectively which led to the creation of commissions 
by both bodies which met at Cape May, New Jersey, in 
1876, and there a basis of fraternity was unanimously 

It is a significant fact that in all the early endeavors 
toward better understanding between the two Methodisms 
the bishops in every case took the lead, and t^;ey have con- 
tinued to do so throughout the intervening years. This 
leadership may be epitomized in the persons of Bishop Eu- 
gene R. Hendrix of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South 
and Bishop Earl Cranston of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Both men came to look upon the furthering of 
the unification of American Methodism as the most impor- 
tant interest of their lives, and the most significant phase 
of their work, and both died with the hope and expecta- 
tion of its speedy accomplishment. A study of episcopal 
leadership in both branches of Methodism in relation to 
unification, justifies I think the generalization that one 
of the reasons why unification has lagged among Baptists 
and Presbyterians is that they both have lacked the type 
of leadership the Methodists have had in their bishops. 


As a whole southerners have been more conservative 
than their northern brethren. This is a part of their 
heritage carried over from the pre-war period when the 
whole South was on the defensive. The necessity of up- 
holding their peculiar institution, slavery, rendered them 
abnormally sensitive to criticism of any sort, especially 
from outsiders, and led naturally to the suspicion that all 
new ideas were dangerous. As a result freedom of thought 
and expression were largely suppressed, and there are even 
yet certain taboos in the South which everyone recognizes. 
Dr. Eaton, in his recent study. Freedom of Thought in the 
Old South, has pointed out that none of the 'Isms," so 
common at the North, whether political, social, economic 


or religious have ever found a foothold at the South. This 
taboo of everything new at the South has been one of the 
barriers which has kept the northern and southern 
churches apart. The Social Gospel is a case in point. This 
emphasis found a much larger acceptance at the North 
than at the South, while on the other hand, the old type of 
revivalism has persisted to a much larger degree at the 
South than at the North. It would seem, however, from 
numerous indications that southern Methodists have rid 
themselves more largely than any other southern religious 
body of the old sectional attitudes. 

One of the factors which has appreciably aided south- 
ern Methodists in getting away from the old sectionalism 
has been the new educational influences. The founding of 
four new Methodist Universities in the South, established 
within the last two generations has been a powerful lib- 
eralizing influence. Vanderbilt University, established in 
1875, was in a sense the first real southern university, and 
its School of Religion was the first theological institution 
of Southern Methodism. Although the official relationship 
of Vanderbilt with the church was severed in 1914, never- 
theless during the forty years in which it was the principal 
Methodist University at the South, it turned out an increas- 
ingly influential leadership for the church, and its clientele 
is still strongly Methodist. The opening of Southern Meth- 
odist University at Dallas, Texas, and the transforming of 
Emory College into Emory University, and Trinity College 
into Duke University, each of them with their Schools of 
Religion, has given southern Methodism the undoubted 
leadership in southern theological education. All of these 
universities have a national outlook, while their faculties 
and students have been increasingly drawn from all sec- 
tions of the country. A survey of southern Methodist 
leadership in unification will show that to a large extent it 
came either directly or indirectly out of these new univer- 
sity centers. A comparison of the formal educational 
equipment of southern Methodist leaders with that of their 
northern brethren in similar positions in their respective 


churches at the time of unification, will show also that in 
many respects the southerners had an edge on their north- 
ern contemporaries. 

The transformation of the Southern Methodist Publish- 
ing House within the last twenty years from a typically 
drab denominational printing establishment into the ag- 
gressive Cokesbury Press, with its increasingly influential 
list of authors and books, is still another factor which has 
given southern Methodism a wider outlook and a new na- 
tional interest. Another interesting fact that helps explain 
the changing situation in southern Methodism is that for 
the last generation southern Methodist students have gone 
increasingly to the Yale Divinity School or to the Divinity 
School of the University of Chicago, and not a few of the 
present-day leaders in Southern Methodism have advanced 
degrees from these two institutions. 

Such have been some of the influences which have been 
at work within southern Methodism breaking down the old 
sectional prejudices and undermining the old taboos. 


American Methodists whether North or South or Meth- 
odist Protestant have never lost sight of their common his- 
torical heritage. John and Charles Wesley, Francis As- 
bury, William McKendree and a host of others were held 
in equal reverence by all branches of American Methodists 
throughout all the vicissitudes of controversy and division. 
When both branches of Episcopal Methodists formed young 
people's societies in the nineties both adopted the name 
"Epworth League" in commemoration of the birthplace of 
John Wesley. When the Methodist Episcopal Church 
chose "Abingdon Press" as the trade name of their Book 
Concern in commemoration of the seat of the first Ameri- 
can Methodist college, the southern Methodists selected 
"Cokesbury Press" as the trade name of their publishing 
house in commemoration of the college founded at "Abing- 
don." And so it has been throughout the years, each rival- 
ing the other in doing honor to the great Methodist names 


and events of the past. Thus both of the major divisions 
of American Methodists have continued increasingly con- 
scious of their common historic standing ground. 

This fact is clearly stated in the pastoral address before 
the second Ecumenical Conference held in Washington in 
1891, at which the Methodist Protestant as well as the two 
branches of Episcopal Methodism were represented. On 
the question of Methodist union the address states: 

"We rejoice to recognize the substantial unity which 
exists among the various Methodist churches. Its firm 
basis is a common creed. We are all faithful to the 
simple, Scriptural, and generous theology which God 
through the clear intellect and loving heart of John 
Wesley, restored to his church. . . And there are other 
grounds of unity. We are proud of the same spiritual 
ancestry ; we sing the same hymns ; our modes of wor-- 
ship are similar; and what is most important of all, 
the type of religious experience is fundamentally the 
same throughout the Methodist world. Our ecclesias- 
tical principles are not as various as the forms in 
which they are accidently embodied. Rejoicing in these 
things, we think the time has come for a closer co- 
operation of the Methodist churches, both at home 
and abroad, which will prevent waste of power and un- 
hallowed rivalry ; w^hile before the eyes of many of us 
has passed the delightful vision of a time when, in 
each land where it is planted, Methodism shall become, 
for every useful purpose, one, and the Methodist of 
the world shall be a close and powerful federation of 
churches for the spread of the kingdom of Christ." 

This knowledge of a common past has undoubtedly 
played its part in keeping alive a spirit of unity among the 
various Methodist bodies in America. 

There have been those, however, who have advocated 
that one way to promote Methodist unity is to forget the 
past, especially the controversial phases of Methodist his- 


tory. In the year 1912 a manuscript dealing with the 
Methodist Church and the Civil War was submitted to the 
Methodist Book Concern in New York for publication. The 
book editor, later to become one of the bishops of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, finally returned the manuscript 
to the author with the statement that since a plan of uni- 
fication was under consideration by the two great branches 
of American Methodism, he thought it unwise to bring up 
the old issues that had caused division. The book editor 
evidently proceeded on the assumption that unification 
could be furthered by forgetting all the old issues out of 
which controversy and division had come. But this as- 
sumption was fallacious in general, and was particularly so 
in the case of American Methodism. The chief draw-back 
to this assumption is the fact that the defeated side does 
not forget. The first plan of unification which came to a 
vote in both branches of episcopal Methodism was defeated 
very largely because certain southern leaders had not for- 
gotten the old issues, and especially the treatment which 
the southern church had received at the hands of their 
northern brthren following the war. All this came as a 
surprise to the northern Methodists. They had forgotten 
it. For it is easy for the victorious side to forget. But 
all the unpleasant facts which attended the reconstruction 
years, particularly, were vivid memories at the South. The 
taking over of southern Methodist Church property and 
the lawsuits to regain it w^ere recalled and a campaign to 
defeat unification was carried on by certain southern lead- 
ers based largely on the old issues. It would seem, there- 
fore, that the only way to deal with the past is neither to 
attempt to forget it, nor ignore it, but rather to come to an 
understanding of it. 

It is my contention that one of the principal influences 
which made Methodist unification possible was the grow- 
ing historical mindedness among the leaders of the three 
Methodist bodies which came together in 1939 to form the 
new Methodist Church. By historical mindedness I mean 
the willingness to consider all sides of all the historic 


issues which had caused division. Within the last fifty 
years both northern and southern Methodists, as well as 
the Methodist Protestants have come more and more to ac- 
cept the same historical viewpoints in regard to the former 
controversies and differences. Here is a noble example of 
the practical value of history, for the creation of historical 
mindedness among American Methodists has been the ac- 
complishment of the trained historian. 

Fifty years ago there was not a single account of the 
slavery controversy in the church which had not been writ- 
ten to defend one side or the other. And the same thing 
was likewise true of the issues out of which came the 
Methodist Protestant body. In fact up until recent years 
American Church historj^ as a serious scholarly enterprise 
was simply non-existent. There were, it is true, denomi- 
national histories in abundance, but all of them with few 
if any exceptions had been written by denominational 
leaders for th^e purpose of denominational propaganda. 
They could all have been lumped under the head of patri- 
otic history, prepared for the purpose of making the sev- 
eral denominational bodies think well of themselves. A 
good share of them were frankly and openly controversial ; 
written to perpetuate differences and justify division rath- 
er than to heal the old wounds. It was the entrance of the 
trained historian into the field of American Church history 
which gradually transformed the whole approach. 

About the year 1912 the first doctor's dissetations in 
the field of American Church history began to appear in the 
major American universities. But it was a good many 
years after that date before American Church history sub- 
jects were accepted as a matter of course as doctoral 
theses, the assumption being that it was impossible to deal 
with such subjects with a sufficient degree of objectivity. 
Dr. J. Franklin Jameson in his presidential address before 
the American Historical Association nearly thirty years 
ago pointed out that American Church history was a virgin 
field for the historical student. Since that time An^erican 
Church history has become universally recognized as a 


legitimate interest among historical scholars and a long 
list of doctor's dissertations in that field have appeared at 
all the major American universities. 

Two doctor's theses which have had a particular bear- 
ing upon Methodist division are The Schism in the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, 1844, by Professor John H. Nor- 
wood published in 1923, and Episcopal Methodism and 
Slavi'ry by Charles B. Swaney, published in 1926. The 
former was a thesis prepared at Cornell University, the 
author being a non-Methodist and not even American born. 
But the study was so understanding, the judgments were so 
fair and the authoi-'s appreciation of the problems the 
church faced was so sincere, that it was at once accepted 
by historians as a model of impartiality. The latter thesis 
was prepared at Northwestern University and was a study 
of the whole impact of negro slavery on Episcopal Method- 
ism. Besides these two dissertations bearing dii'ectly on 
the slavery controversy in Methodism there have been sev- 
eral others dealing with other phases of Methodist his- 
tory. Two that might be mentioned are Posey's Begin- 
nings of Methodism in the Old Southivesf, prepared at 
Vanderbilt University, and R. W. Goodloe's The Office of 
Bishop in Episcopal Methodism prepared at the University 
of Chicago. Such studies as these perfoi-med tho spado 
work for the rewriting of American Methodist history. 

In 1933 the present writer published his Methodism in 
American History. . It has been prepared at the request of 
the Commission on Courses of Study of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church as one of the required books for minis- 
terial training. In that volume all the controversial issues 
were treated objectively and in the light of such research 
as that furnished by such special studies as tliose men- 
tioned above. The author had no side to defend ; no party 
to uphold. His object was to tell the whole trutli without 
fear or favor and with full appreciation of all the differing 
viewpoints. Within a short time after the appearance of 
the book it was not only listed in the Course of Study for 
Ministerial training in the Methodist Episcopal Church, 


but was also adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, as a required book in their list for ministerial prep- 
aration, and found full acceptance by the Methodist Pro- 
testants. The purpose of noting these facts is to show- 
that the three Methodist Churches which united in 1939 
had come to the place where they were able to accept a 
common viewpoint on all the old controversial issues over 
which they had divided. 

The significance of this fact in its bearing on the 
achievement of unification of American Methodism is dif- 
ficult to overestimate. It meant that the three Methodist 
bodies were no longer divided over the old issues. It did 
not mean necessarily that they had come to a full agree- 
ment regarding them all, but that such disagreements as 
remained were no longer divisive factors. It meant that 
each of them had come to a full appreciation of the others' 
viewpoints; in other words unification was made possible 
not because the old issues had been forgotten, but rather 
because they were now fully understood. 

It is difficult to see how unification can come about 
among Baptists and Presbyterians on any other basis. 
They have the same differences in viewpoint of past issues 
to compose. One of the reasons, in my opinion, why unifi- 
cation lags in both bodies is because of their lack of his- 
torical mindedness. And this lack is largely due to the fact 
that neither church has had the benefit of full length his- 
torical studies, made by trained historians, of the issues 
out of which came their divisions. There have been several 
excellent studies of phases of the Presbyterian controversy; 
such as Hightower's, Joshua L. Wilson: Frontier Contro- 
versalist, Moore's, R. J. Breckenridge and Vander Velde's, 
The Presbyterian Church and the Federal Union, but they 
are all very recent and only Vander Velde's study is in 
print. While the Baptists have still farther to go to 
achieve any degree of full understanding of their past is- 

Agitation for church union based upon present ex- 
igences only are futile. For they have proceeded too often 


on the assumption that the past is to be forgotten. Be- 
cause they know little or nothing about the old controver- 
sial issues which have divided Christendom, they assume 
that everyone is equally ignorant. For that reason what 
they write and speak on church union is superficial. They 
fail to understand that church union can be achieved only 
on the basis of a full understanding of all the issues that 
have caused controversy and division. 


By Robert W. Goodloe 
Southern Methodist University 
Dallas, Texas 

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Bal- 
timore, Maryland, at Christmas-time, 1784. Upon arrival 
in America fifteen years prior to the meeting of the Christ- 
mas Conference, one of Wesley's first missionaries, Joseph 
Pilmoor, realizing that his purpose might be misunder- 
stood, explained to the people in Philadelphia, "That the 
Methodist Society was never designed to make a separa- 
tion from the Church of England, or to be looked upon as 
a church. That it was at first and is still intended for the 
benefit of all those of every denomination, who being truly 
convinced of sin and the danger they are exposed to, ear- 
nestly desire to flee from the wrath to come." But this 
original purpose of a "religious society" was modified by 
the rapid numerical growth of the Methodists, by the suc- 
cess of the American Revolution, and by the withdrawal 
of the Church of England from these shores. 

Due to the presence in the New World of some fifteen 
thousand Methodists who "desire to continue under my 
care, and still adhere to the doctrine and discipline of the 
Church of England," and for which service there existed 
in the country at that time no other means, Wesley pro- 
vided for the organization of the Methodist Societies into 
the Methodist Church. "If any one will point out a more 
rational and scriptural way of feeding and guiding these 
poor sheep in the wilderness," he explained, "I will gladly 
embrace it." The occasion of setting up this new denom- 
ination, in another letter Wesley spoke of as "a very un- 
common train of providences (by which) many of the pro- 
vinces in North America are totally disjoined from the 
mother country." 

The difference between a 'Church' and a 'Re^i^-ious 
Society' is, in short, that the former possesses norn.ui ec- 


clesiastical officers and proper sacraments. Early in his 
experience as tlie leader of the Methodists Wesley had in- 
sisted upon this distinction — and at the same time revealed 
an essential variation from the church of his fathers as to 
necessary means of salvation and the Christian under- 
standing of man — ^when he declared "I tolerate lay preach- 
ing", because I conceive there is absolute necessity for it, 
inasmuch as, were it not, thousands of souls would perish 

everlastingly; and yet I do not tolerate lay administering, 
because I do not conceive there is such necessity for it; 
seeing it does not appear, that, if this is not at all, one 
soul w^ill perish for want of it." 

However Wesley may have differed from the teaching 
of his church as to the necessity of the sacraments for sal- 
vation, certainly he held such ceremonies in high esteem as 
aids to salvation. "As I violate no order, and invade no 
man's rights, by appointing and sending laborers into the 

harvest," he provided his newly-organized brethren in 
America with the normal sacraments and ceremonies of 
the Church of England, which church to him was "the best 
constituted national church in the world." One part of 
the Ritual thus sent over to America by Wesley was that 
for the Baptism of Infants. The Ritual, be it noted, in 
no essential part or teaching differed from that in common 
use by the Anglican Church. The General Address, as it 
appeared in that Ritual, as modified in 1910, and as it 
stands now, is quoted below : 

1784 (without material modification since 1661) : 
"Dearly Beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived 
and born in sin, and that our Saviour Christ saith, 
none can enter into the kingdom of God except he be 
regenerate and born anew of water and of the Holy 
Ghost. . . ." 

1910 (Methodist Episcopal Church, South) : "Dear- 
ly beloved, forasmuch as all men, though fallen in 
Adam, are born into this world in Christ the Reedem- 


er, heirs of life eternal and subjects of the saving 
grace of the Holy Spirit. . . ." 

1939 (The Methodist Church) : "Dearly beloved, 
forasmuch as all men are heirs of life eternal and sub- 
jects of the saving grace of the Holy Spirit. ..." 

Backg7'ound of Methodism's First Ritual for the 
Baptism of Infants 

Apparently the Christian Church began without defi- 
nite rituals or ceremonies. The movement had arisen in. 
Judaism much as Methodism came to being within the fold 
of the Anglican Church. And only as the Christian 'So- 
cieties' became separate, consciously, from their mother 
Judaism, was there either need or desire for any distinc- 
tive Christian ceremony. Further, any elaborate ritual 
had to await a modification alike of the understanding of 
man and of the means of salvation. So long as '"neither 
in this mountain nor in Jerusalem" was it necessary to 
worship, but rather "in spirit and in truth," we search to 
vain for clearly defined Christian ritual. But as the 
Christian movement passed out from Palestine into the 
wider territories of the Roman Empire, as its constituency 
shifted from that of Jews to one of Gentiles, modification 
was under way. 

By the middle of the third century, the days of Saint 
Cyprian, the characteristic outlines of this new conception 
of man and salvation had taken shape. Roughly speaking 
it may be said that during the first century, Christians 
were members of a fellowship based upon a belief in Jesus 
Christ as Messiah, neither formal doctrine nor ceremony 
being conscious among them. Within the space of another 
one hundred years admission into the group required ac- 
ceptance of certain fairly definite theological creeds. But 
the movement did not stop there. If one advances still 
another century, and at that time seeks membership in the 
Christian group, the conditions required of him will make 
clear that now the church teaches that Baptism and Iik3 
Lord's Supper are essential to salvation. 


What had led to this shift of emphasis from "repen- 
tance and faith" to that of membership in the church and 
reception of the sacraments? Which of the two may iiave 
been the cause and the other the effect or whether it is 
proper to consider them at all in that relationship, it must 
not be overlooked that in this period during which the d(ic- 
trine of baptismal regeneration came to acceptance, men had 
come also to believe in what has been called original sin. 
And for our study, original sin stands for a specific con- 
ception of the religious condition of the person to be saved. 
If "all men are conceived and born in sin," then men are 
perfectly helpless to repent and believe the gospel; £ind 
surely the church which serves such a generation must pro- 
vide relief for all such needy creatures. 

Exactly that was the nature of man as assumed in the 
Ritual for the Baptism of Infants sent over to the Ameri- 
can Methodists by Mr. John Wesley. And evidently the 
American Methodists had no great objection to such an 
assumption; for, not only did they not reject that Ritual 
at that time, but for one hundred and twenty-five yeai's 
they allowed it to remain without alteration, while any one 
of the thirty sessions of the General Conference might 
have made any desired alteration, simply by a majority 

During the period, from the clear recognition of the 
doctrine of original sin down to the organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, what was the Christian un- 
derstanding of man? What was the social, the political 
conception of man? In what relation stood the individual 
to his political ruler? Obviously that most representative 
of the long span of years — now increasing, now declining 
— was that of master and servant, of lord and vassal. The 
state was the accepted divine agency for political welf ar^* ; 
the church was God's means of salvation for men. Rebellion 
against the state was punishable by death; refusal to abide 
by the commands of the church meant to be shut out from 
the sacraments — and from salvation. Certainly any ritual 
possessed of such efficacy would be clearly formed and ac- 


curately administered. In such a period the Augustinian 
doctrine of original sin, and the Calvinistic conception of 
the elect were at home: indeed man was but a "worm of 
the dust." 

Change in the Conception of Man Which Brought Modifi- 
cation in the Ritual for the Baptism of Infants 

For more than one hundred years the Methodist Ritual 
for the Baptism of Infants remained unchanged — just as 
it had been shaped in the Church of England in 1661. But 
from time to time the General Conference had acknowl- 
edged its consciousness of the presence of children and of 
their importance to the on-going of the Kingdom. In 1854 
a committee report was adopted in the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, saying, "We are 
satisfied that to a very great extent the future success of 
all evangelical churches . . . must and will be in almost 
exact proportion to the wise and scriptural indoctrination 
of the youthful mind, and that this seeding of the youth- 
ful mind must be in the nursery and the Sunday School." 

By 1910 this conception of the nature of children had 
gained sufficient recognition as to bring official approval 
— not a clear expression of such new mind, but at least a 
marked advance. Of the religious nature of the child the 
Ritual which Mr. Wesley had provided his American breth- 
ren declared: "Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all children 
are conceived and born in sin;" the new discipline of 1910 
(in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South) explained: 
"Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men, though fallen in 
Adam, are born into this world in Christ the Redeemer." 
Let it be admitted that in this last statement there is con- 
tradiction — "though fallone in Adam," "are born into this 
world in Christ the Redeemer" — yet this new mind of 
Methodism does deny the ultimate depravity of child na- 
ture. Without doubt here is a new conception of the nature 
of human beings. 

The contradiction in languauge in this opening sentence 
of the Ritual indicates a simple matter of fact : some mem- 


bers of the General Conference of 1910 wanted to say that 
children possess religious capacity when they are born into 
the world; another group could see in their nature only 
depravity. And the two groups were so nearly equal in 
number that neither could impose its will upon the other. 
Hence they shaped a ritual which contained the belief, not 
simply of one of the groups, but of both ! 

Back of the insistence upon this new definition of 
childhood is a long period of American social and theolog- 
ical experience. We have 'pointed with pride' to the com- 
ing to America of the most democratic minds of Europe — 
the Pilgrim Fathers. Dissatisfied with the limitations un- 
der which they were living, and believing that greater 
freedom might be found in the New World, this band set 
out upon their passage westward. The Mayflower Com- 
pact they drew up, before their landing, as a basis of so- 
cial control. In brief it was an agreement to abide by the 
decision of the majority. Looked at from another angle 
it was a declaration that they were capable of political 
self-government. And to be able to govern one's self, rath- 
er than submit to the rule of another is, in substance, just 
what one of the groups in the Methodist General Confer- 
ence of 1910 wanted to say about the religious capacity of 
persons born into the world — not depraved, wholly de- 
pendent upon another, but possessed of an ability, capac- 
ity for self-determination — a. new understanding of the 
nature of man in his religious relationships. 

Such changes of course move slowly, because they rep- 
resent fundamental convictions. Contradiction is not quite 
so evident in the Mayflower Compact as in the Methodist 
Ritual for 1910, nevertheless it is there — exactly as it is 
present in almost all group statements. Of the 102 per- 
sons constituting this the most democratic body at that 
time known in the world, forty-two signed the document 
for 'self-government' — the majority even in this group 
not helping to make the laws under which they were to 
live. And reflecting the aristocratic conceptions out of 
which they had come, fourteen of these signers added to 


their names the abbreviation 'Gn.' ; while twelve others 
were proud to complete their signatures with the letters 
'Mr.' ; the remaining members of the privileged signers 
had not been born with sufficient social recognition to 
warrant any distinction above their own names. 

For one hundred and fifty years American life reflect- 
ed this social stratification. When the only religious or- 
ganization in the community had completed its church 
building and was assigning the "sittings," clear distinction 
was given to the standing of the several groups. For ex- 
ample : "the first seat in the balcony shall be equal in dig- 
nity to the fourth seat on the main floor." Exactly the 
same basis was followed in determining the seats for men 
at college, and the listing of students there. Almost right 
up to the opening of the American Revolution the catalogs 
of Harvard and Yale carried student rolls not according 
to the alphabet but upon the social standing of the families 
from which the boys came (of course girls were not ad- 
mitted to college generally in such "democratic" days ; just 
as they were not allowed a vote in the election of political 

Influence of the West 

Once political independence had been granted, the more 
democratic ideals of American life began to assert them- 
selves. While the older son remained in the original col- 
onies, possessed of the family estate, younger brothers 
moved across the mountains into the great West, that they 
too might own land and enjoy its privileges. There they 
proved to the world that birth — social standing — is not 
the only means of achievement; but that every man who 
really desires it, and is willing to work for it, may become 
economically independent. Extension of voting privileges 
went hand in hand with the economic franchise, as did also 
the establishment of the free public school, in which chil- 
dren of rich and poor enjoyed privileges equally. 

This nineteenth century witnessed ecclesiastical and 
theological changes of the character exactly as were being 


observed in the social and political realms. Such denomin- 
ations as Congregational, Presbyterian and Episcopal — 
groups in the main shaped about the earlier European 
social ideals, and following in general the theological im- 
plications of Calvinism — were able to make but slow ad- 
vances among the rapidly multiplying populations of the 
new nation. But Methodists and Baptists, Disciples and 
Cumberland Presbyterians — opposing the belief that only 
the "elect" may be saved, and offering salvation to every 
one who will genuinely repent and believe — became the 
popular and rapidly growing churches. The older denom- 
inations had been at home useful and effective in an aris- 
tocratic society, in which it was normal to believe that 
God has set men apart into classes. But the economic 
achievements of men in the western states had tended to 
strip away social distinctions; and the churches which 
taught that all men are equal in the sight of God drew the 
majority of the people into their folds. The common man, 
having freed himself from political absolutism, soon be- 
came dissatisfied with theological absolutism. And the 
masses of America assumed that the right to achieve sal- 
vation is a corollary to the right to win social and economic 
distinction. The idea that God, or their fathers, should 
set them into classes, the one to be saved, and the other 
to be lost, altogether regardless of their own consent or 
effort, was a conception that did not fit comfortably into 
the increasing democratic ideal of America, 

The Ritual for the Baptism of Infants represented ex- 
actly that older, European and aristocratic conception of 
man. The doctrine of original sin was its classic theolog- 
ical assumption. "All men are conceived and born in sin" 
voiced this European understanding of man ; whereas "are 
born into this world in Christ the Redeemer" represents 
nineteenth century developing American democracy. 

The Methodists were slow in effecting this change in 
their ritual statement, just as in political realms legal 
enactments usually follow after rather than precede 
changes in the minds of the people concerned. The Unit- 


ing Conference of the Methodist Church, in 1939, carried 
ritual changes a step nearer the ideal held by an increasing 
proportion of the members of that church when they "har- 
monized" the rituals of the three uniting bodies so as to 
leave out the clause ''though fallen in Adam," thus re- 
moving the assumption that man's religious condition is in- 
herited rather than being the result of his own effort for 

Shift of Emphasis from Child to Parents 

A further evidence of the changing meaning of the 
church in its ritual for the Baptism of Infants is to be 
found in the charge to the parents. In a day when it was 
believed that sins are inherited, through the fall, it was 
normal to think of release from such original taint by the 
"washing of Baptism." But when the ritual denies that 
the child at birth is "dead in trespasses and in sins," and 
"deserveth God's wrath and damnation," how normal that 
primary emphasis in the whole service should be trans- 
ferred from the infant and placed upon the parents. In 
substance, by this new ritual, the church is saying: Here 
is a newborn infant. It is now neither a sinner nor a 
saint ; but it may become either the one or the other. By 
this ceremony the church is endeavoring to impress upon 
parents, and congregation, that which of these two quali- 
ties of character is to be achieved by the child will depend 
largely upon the influence which they throw about this 
child during its growing years. Such surely is the mean- 
ing when the minister urges upon parents that: "You 
shall teach him ... as soon as he is able to learn. . ." 
and when, in closing the introductory general statement, 
prayer is offered that this child "may become a worthy 
member," rather than as the older ritual said, "remain" in 
the Kingdom of God. 

By reading this new ritual it would be difficult to be- 
lieve that Methodists now think of the ceremony of Bap- 
tism as making any moral or religious change in the child. 
Surely the church no more teaches that effect of Baptism 


than that it assumes that the wedding ceremony by miracle 
induces in those being married a genuine love of husband 
for wife. By the solemn assumption of vows, before a 
worshiping congregation, parents may be led to form high 
resolves to live nobly before their children. That works 
no moral change in the life of the little one 7}oi(:! But if, 
through the years of childhood and youth, parents carry 
out in their own examples before the child the vows there 
assumed, few children will grow to maturity without being 
affected greatly as a result of that act of Baptism, 

Such meaning and use of ceremony is entirely out of 
harmony with the teaching of the church of the Middle 
Ages and even early modern times; as equally does it fail 
to represent the social and political conception of the value 
and rights of man in those periods. But in whatever sense 
men are made in the image of God, capable of growing into 
knowledge and appreciation in spirit like that of the Cre- 
ator, in whatever sense in social and political life the truly 
democratic American ideals are followed, infant Baptism, 
as emphasized in this ritual, is normal and at home. By 
no means is the ritual perfect, just as democracy is not 
now perfect among us. But in genius and in hope for the 
fulfillment of man's highest good and achievement this 
ritual commends itself. 

Relation of the Ritual for the Baptism of Infants to the 
''New Theology" 

Growing out of a period of defeat, of despair, the ''new 
theology" of our day threatens the hopeful assumption of 
the Methodist ritual for the Baptism of Infants ! If it is 
true that the American people cannot maintain a real self- 
government; if it is true that we cannot order our eco- 
nomic life so as to provide profitable employment for every 
man who really wants to work ; if we cannot devise some 
means of settling political disputes without killing off those 
who oppose our view, then we may assume that the world 
in which we live is not especially our affair, and that in 
his own good time God will "break into it" and deal with 
it according to his own judgment. If there is not much 




that we can do except to wait and see, then we may as 
well cease to promise our people that if they will ''train 
up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will 
not depart from it." 

But seeing that the "new theology" is a product of the 
troubled times through which the world has been passing, 
we do not despair either of God or of man ; but rather we 
set ourselves to prevent hatreds and wars and starvation, 
convinced that in proportion as the will of God is thus 
worked out in the lives of men, a theology of despair will 
grow into a theology of hope. To that brighter and more 
hopeful way of life the Methodist Church would shape all 
its rituals : that they may be helpful means of building in 
its people courage and strength and genuine Christian 


By Charles K. Merriam 

University of Chicago 

Chicago, Illinois 

The great idealisms that sweep men's souls, the mighty 
sacrificial enthusiasms that vibrate through life, and some- 
times put to rout and shame the forms of gold and steel ; 
w^hat part do they play in the organization of the patterns 
of political power? Imprisoned they escape; burned they 
rise from the ashes; exiled they return, perhaps in tri- 
umph. To what role shall they be assigned in the emerg- 
ing forms of authority? Shall we omit all these elements 
from the scheme of power? Or can we allow them to enter 
without demoralizing the whole scene? Shall we say that 
all roads lead to religion? Or is it that religion leads over 
all roads to every seat of authority? 

In times gone by some of these great human values 
have sought expression in one form of religion or another, 
finding shelter in the arms of religion since they were not 
welcomed elsewhere. These values and appreciations have 
been institutionalized in the church, which has protected 
the inner aesthetic emotional core with the harder forms 
and structures of ecclesiastical authority. But this author- 
ity in turn has become in many ways and at various times 
a replica and a rival of the political power itself, but in 
turn is overformalized and hardened. 

In organized religion is found a formidable association 
with many members, much property, elaborate rules and 
regulations, personnel skilled in the politics and adminis- 
tration of religious affairs, conceded jurisdiction over 
great ranges of human behavior, and a voice in other 
ranges. Churches have not hesitated to rebuke rulers or 
to assist in their deposition, or to aid in the spiritual and 
mental preparation necessary for revolution as well as 


conformity. In any case it provides a moral basis for gov- 
ernment in general and the particular governors in charge 
of the political association. 

Religion may have its own law, and the canon law has 
been the analogue of the civil for generations in Western 
Europe. The church organizes its councils and conferences, 
lays down its rule, provides the penalties appropriate, sets 
up its administration on a magnificent scale, and provides 
for adjudication of disputed cases through the agency of 
ecclesiastical courts. And all this has been fully described 
and discussed in countless tomes, which need no comment 
here. At different times this ecclesiastical government has 
been democratic, aristocratic, autocratic or theocratic. 

Not only does the church lay down the rules of life for 
its own citizens, but it may also suggest or even dictate to 
the political group the enforcement or aid in the enforce- 
ment of these regulations, in so far as they may be deemed 
essential for the preservation of the morality of men. It is 
precisely at this point that the church governors may de- 
velop an attitude almost indistinguishable from that of 
power hunger; in short the church may become what for 
lack of a better word we may call "politically minded"; 
and here may begin bitter struggles between the church 
and state for the right to determine the metes and bounds 
of human conduct.* 

Modern nationalism raised up centers of power against 
the church far stronger than the feeble Holy Roman Em- 
pire, and the separation of church and state in some juris- 
dictions followed, as in the United States. The Soviet 
Union undertook the "liquidation" of the church. But these 
developments were not decisive, for in recent times the 
church reappeared in the democratic field as a political 
party itself and a part of the law-making authority. The 

•■'See my Making of Citizens; A. N. Holcombe, The Foundations 
of the Modem Commomvealth, with special comment on the church 
in leading modern states, w^'th reference also to the attitudes of the 
Catholic, the Jewish, and the Piotestant denominations. 


clerical parties may thus become parts of the government 
in a direct and responsible sense, as well as in the more in- 
direct advocacy of special forms of moral measures. 
These parties in Italy and Germany, however, seemed un- 
able to hold their own in the political arena. 

It might be supposed that the mystical element in re- 
ligion would prevent conflict with the realism of the poli- 
ticists. But mysticism may lead in more than one direc- 
tion. It may load toward retirement, seclusion, hermitage; 
or it may, quite the contrary, assume an acute attitude of 
earnest responsibility for the direction of human conduct, 
a proprietary attitude in the name of an ultra and unques- 
tionably high purpose.** In order to save the souls of men 
or to ensure their moral welfai'e, in whatever terms 
couched, it may become indispensable to regiment and re- 
direct the lines of human conduct, directly or through 
the political agencies. The validity of this ultimate 
(moral) purpose will not be submitted by religion to the 
determination of any other group in society, but must be 
established by the technicians of morality themselves. The 
ways and means of establishing the implications of these 
principles in actual behavior will also be asserted by the 
ecclesiastical experts, but may be challenged by the laymen 
in government or elsewhere, when the aid or the tolerance 
of the other groups is required for the execution of a pol- 
icy. And the allegation of a spiritual and therefore unre- 
viewable purpose, or the appeal to the agencies of ritualism 
and ceremonialism, will not be sufficient to prevent a 
check on these ecclesiastical positions and pronouncements 
by the other groups, including the political. 

If the church holds heresy as defined by the ecclesiasts 
to be a sin, or the taking of interest on money to be a sin, 
or the drinking of alcoholic beverages to be a sin, these 
types of bans will be reviewed by the respective groups 
most directly interested in the application of the principle 

*For a simple but eloquent exposition and defense of this less 
usual outcome, see Father J. Elliot Ross, Snnctittf and Social Service. 



declared; and the outcome may be dubious — dependent on 
a wide variety of factors, as is richly illustrated by history. 

The bitterness of conflict between ecclesiastical and 
political authority may be attributed chiefly to two ele- 
ments in the controversies, namely the silent struggle for 
priority in command of human affairs, and the rivalry of 
the principle of sovereignty with that of the sacrosanct 
and unappealable divinity (infallibility) of purpose on the 
other hand. In both instances not only is prestige at stake, 
but a large body of personnel and of property is involved 
in the outcome of the recurring struggles. 

In ultimate analysis both church and state appeal, 
though this is not so commonly recognized, to the ultimate 
sense of "right," which is deeper than the "legality" of 
one or the "morality" of the other, and which is not ex- 
pressed fully in the institutionalization of either. Is the 
church or the state "right" in civil affairs is a question 
which cannot be answered either by the authentic interpre- 
tation of divinity on the one side, or by the supreme inter- 
pretation of the law on the other. Both proceed with out- 
ward dogmatism corresponding to an inner uncertainty as 
to what the judgment of laymen, political and religious, 
may be. The outcome may well be determined by the com- 
parative proficiency of the parties in the art of propa- 
ganda and promotion; or in the last resort by anathema 
and excommunication, confiscation, exile, fire and sword. 

If we look in the depths of the human personality for 
light upon this troubled question of the priority of the re- 
ligious and the political demands, we find the disturbing 
and varying factor is the different facets upon which these 

lights are playing. The feelings of guilt and inferiority so 
often prison walls from which the tortured human soul 
would fain escape may be neither primarily religious in 
nature nor moral, but constitutional or experiential. They 
are woven into the constitution and experience of men and 


find various outlets. At times one may find satisfaction 
and release in the beautiful symbolism of the church, *=■•* 
constantly thi-ust upon him by the ecclesiastical propa- 
ganda of the faith, or in the thrilling community exalta- 
tions provided by the politicists, in war, or in participation 
in great events and identification with great leaders and 
companions. In one mood confession may meet his need ; 
in another the jubel of the vast political throng of which 
he is a part, or in the leadership of the great man who re- 
flects a thousand reveries written large in great days and 
great deeds. In the dark hours of suffering and sorrow 
we may become pious or patriotic or proletarian; and if 
piety and nationalism and the proletariat do not agree, then 
there is distress until decision cuts the cord. It is in such 
inquiries as these, as well as in the citation of the historic 
narratives of the struggle between church and state, that 
a more intimate understanding of the conflict between 
these two power-hungry groups may be found in great 

Nor can we ignore the paradoxical fact that these 
groups may interchange their functions and their moods. 
The ecclesiasts may take over the ordinary functions of the 
state, and the state may in turn assume the more common 
tasks of the religious brethren. The church may become 
more politically minded in the worst sense of the term than 
the state itself, i. e., power-hungry, corrupt even. On the 
other hand, the officials of the competing organization fly- 
ing the banner of the state may represent in certain 
moments the idealism, the sacrifice, the altruism, the re- 
ligious aspiration of mankind in a particular group and in 
special moments. Were these factors constant, the diffi- 
culty would be less acute; for then priests would not bless 
wars, and kings would not battle for religion. 

We may raise the question, how far has the overform- 

* Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, "Le Sacrifice," in Melanges 
d'hisforie des nligion.s. 


alization of religion and the conflict between church 
power and political power been due to the failure of the 
governmental group to make an adequate place for these 
values, to a preference for types of violence, brutality, and 
like influence, to failure to reckon with the sacrificial 
basis upon which government itself rests, to a dullness to- 
"ward the artistic and aesthetic foundations of life? 

Obviously, the artificial and forced subordination of 
the church to the state does not solve this problem to the 
satisfaction of either, but are there not other possibilities 
of unifying the essential elements in the situation, not the 
death of either but the higher and richer life of both ? 

The ideology of democracy on its ethical side is as old 
as the doctrines of Stoicism and Christianity. The early 
struggle of these humane doctrines is now easily forgotten, 
but they once competed with the state idea accepted by 
a great portion of the world, as in India. Historically, 
democracy met systems resting upon human slavery and 
systems of racial superiority. Stoicism, proclaiming the 
brotherhood of man, arose as the philosophy of the 
Greek "Bastards" who "did not belong." Christianity pro- 
claimed the equality of all men in the sight of God. The 
Roman law blended these ideas in many ways. 

Religion might and did at times turn the idea of the 
dignity and fellowship of man into toleration of slavery in 
actual life, and build up defences for arbitrary and oppres- 
sive authority as in the union of the altar and the throne. 
But the basic meaning of human spiritual equality swept 
on slowly through Western civilization, developing most 
rapidly the theories of the social contract and of the moral 
basis of the right to revolution against an unjust or tyran- 
nical government — a doctrine in which both Catholic and 
Protestant controversalists joined heartily. 

The apostles of religion constantly reiterated the doc- 
trine that on moral levels of human behavior each human 
being must be considered as possessing a soul and a destiny 
of vast importance — possessing the moral right to judge 


of the conduct of his governors, upon points involving 
ethical problems at any rate. 

Church government itself was not usually based upon 
hereditary transmission of ecclesiastical power. The new 
officials were recruited at large, and continuity of govern- 
ment in the church was brought about without regard to 
inheritance. The ecclesiasts were thus aiding in the spread 
of a basic ideology of human interrelationships which was 
not on the whole either a philosophy of submission or a 
philosophy of inequality, whatever the actual practices 
might have been, and however subservient the church 
might become at times. That these ideas were twisted by 
designing persons into convenient defences of their special 
plans does not alter the basic fact with which we are deal- 
ing. We are concerned with the long-time march of the 

In a revolutionary spirit, as is rampant today, it is pos- 
sible to root out religion ; it is possible to root out private 
property; it is possible to root out democracy — or mon- 
archy, for that matter; it is possible to root out the Jews 
or other groups disliked; to make a crackling bonfire of 
the tenderest values and burn them with a jubilee of re- 
joicing. Of course, if necessary change is to be brought 
about only by violence, something must be allowed to the 
pattern of violence, something of brutality and savagery, 
since this is the type of change. But far beyond that, the 
hand of violence may reach to attempt the permanent de- 
struction of priceless assets of long-cultivated value sys- 

There is nothing in recent social trends to indicate that 
we are likely to blot out religion, or all privacy of prop- 
erty, or special races, from the earth and set up systems 
without them. The Jews have wandered long ; the church 
has flourished under persecution — more than in prospei'ity 
even ; some form of privacy of possession clings even to the 
most completely communized form of life, in the cell of the 
monk, in the home of the commissar. 


These comments, I may say, are not presented as a 
counsel of perfection but, on the contrary, as a mandate 
of survival in a world of struggling forces and competing 
values — as a realistic conclusion based upon observation of 
the difficulties of wholesale destruction of critical and op- 
posing values by builders of authority. 

In most wars the enemy survives the peace treaty and 
remains to be dealt with for a long time — even if his flag 
never flies again, or for a long time. And, of course, given 
sufficient difference in strength the enemy may be de- 
stroyed or permanently disabled, as in the case of some 
local tribe or faction. 

The recurring problem of all power is to remind itself 
of its own limitations and functions — and this is as true of 
spiritual authority as of secular. Born in moments of great 
tension and carrying the weapons of destruction in hand, 
the tendency of power is to perpetuate the moment of its 
origin; to forget the world into which it comes and in 
which it must live — to forget that the essence of power is 
creation, not destruction, is trusteeship, not mastery, 
leadership, not exploitation. "He that will be first among 
you, let him become a servant," is a precept of general 
value in political as well as in ethical affairs. I confidently 

predict that the new value systems, as they emerge from 
the chaos and defeatism of our day, will include many of 
the older values developed in experience, among them re- 
ligious values, chief among the centers of emotional and ar- 
tistic unification. 

The ideal government cannot limit itself to its narrow 
juristic aspects, important as they have been and will 
doubtless continue to be. The new government must make 
a partner of science, a partner of industry, a partner of 
religion in the best sense of the term. Religion may well 
abdicate some of its political implications and unite more 
closely with science and with government, as well as with 
art, in the elaboration of types of human behavior on the 


idealistic side****, while the values of industry may be 
more closely associated with those of government in the 
new sense of the term. 

It is not merely the distribution of the mineral re- 
sources of the world, or the horsepower of the world, or 
the racial differentials of the world, or the title to what is 
called "property" in the world, or credits or gold, or the 
territorial boundaries called "states," that prevents the 
equitable and acceptable reorganization of interests and in- 
stitutions — important as all these are — but the antagonism 
of value systems which run down below the obvious sur- 
face of the world. 

There are possible unifications of value systems, of 
material interests, so called, of institutions of "steel," 
"gold," and "the cross," which may be identified running 
through all these crisscross patterns, if there is the intelli- 
gence and the will to weld them into a new form and weave 
them into a new set of values and symbolisms. 

If what has been must always be, then there is little 
reason to anticipate a time when the values of life and the 
forms of power can dwell together in peace and unity. But 
if we may assume the continuing advance of social intelli- 
gence in the organization of human behavior, we may look 
forward to a closer union between the values and the skills 
of government, and the blending of the authority of the 
ideal with that of the real, to an integral organization of 
power in which the conflicting armies of the great social 
disciplines may be brought more nearly together and battle 
against the common enemy of ignorance, tardy adaptation, 
inertia, malfunctioning, rather than against each other. 

Looking forward, I cannot say, from the ramparts I 
watch, in reply to the old question you are asking,"Watch- 
man, tell us of the night. . . ." ; I cannot say, "Lo, the 
dawn is here." 

****0n a unioti of religion and science, government, an 1 ni't soe 
E. E. Aubrey, Present Theological Tendencies (19.36). 


But in a moment when the \yorld rushes forward per- 
haps to its most terrible, titantic, and destructive war, I see 
somehow an end of violence. I see an epitaph written large 
— an epitaph not of civilization but of war. 

In a moment when exaggerated tribalism sweeps all be- 
fore it, I seem to see thrusting upward from below a new 

In a moment of cruel race antipathy and incredible bru- 
tality among civilized people, I seem to see the rising fig- 
ure of the brotherhood of man. I seem to see that love is 
stronger than hate, strong as that dark passion may be, 
and that love will create more than hate destroys. 

In a moment of widespread treason to reason, I seem 
to see the inexorable and inevitable triumph of intelligence 
over ignorance and error. 

In a moment of values often measured by the standards 
of a pecuniary order, I seem to see a rising scale of human 
values richer than riches in a regime of social justice. 

I see the stately structure of the new commonwealth, a 
temple of our common justice, a center of our common in- 
terest, a symbol of our common hope. 

I do not know this. But you asked me what I saw, or 
seemed to see; and I am answering, through the fog and 
storm, as best I can. 

"Brave words, professor!" you may say, if we meet in 
a concentration camp or an army hospital. But then my 
answer will be: "Patience." 


By Shirley Jackson Case 

Florida School of Religion 

Lakeland, Florida 

Religion today holds a precarious position in the cur- 
riculum of our American colleges. Frequently they still 
hesitate to concede it full scholastic recognition. At best 
it is one of those peripheral subjects which the few may 
pursue but the majority will ignore. And its devotees are 
expected to offer suitable apologies for their academic per- 

This situation is all the more surprising in view of the 
fact that the great majority of our colleges were originally 
religious foundations. They were established by the 
church to provide education under Christiaii auspices for 
the children from Christian homes. Also private academies 
to prepare students for college were frequently founded 
and maintained by the church. In the earlier days of 
higher education in America the interests of religion were 
dominant in both preparatory and collegiate schools. 

Today the situation is radically different. Education 
has become so thoroughly secularized that even the de- 
nominational academies and colleges, at least so far as the 
Protestant churches are concerned, no longer stress their 
religious ancestry. Instead they dwell upon their signifi- 
cance as public institutions for the cultivation of secular 
learning and they appeal for support on the basis of their 
educational efficiency in areas that lie altogether outside 
the field of religion. They may still maintain a minimum 
of instruction in religion in order to meet charter require- 
ments or in response to the sentiments of governing boards 
of trustees. But the subject is relegated to an inconspicu- 
ous place in the curriculum and presented under a veil of 
apologetic necessity as though it were not in reality an in- 
tegral part of a modern education. Thus it loses academic 



The external causes that have brought about the pres- 
ent situation are not difficult to discover. During the last 
century education under the patronage of the state has 
made tremendous strides. At the outset there were few 
high schools in which students could procure an adequate 
preparation for coUege. At that time the denominationally 
supported academy met a real demand. But in the mean- 
time high schools i^apported by the municipalities have 
become ubiquitous and the private academy has grown 
largely superfluous. Likewise colleges and universities 
sponsored by the state, or by civic communities, have be- 
come so conspicuous a factor in the educational scene that 
the denominational institutions, in order to survive, have 
been forced to adopt the educational pattern of these se- 
cular establishments and make their curricula conform to 
standards approved by the state. 

Inevitably this process of development has practically 
eliminated religion from the curriculum. The American 
principle of strict separation between church and state 
made impossible any inclusion of religious instruction in 
our secular institutions of learning. This did not mean that 
the sponsors of these institutions were uninterested in re- 
ligion or failed to appreciate its educational importance. 
But the conditions under which they worked completely 
estopped them from including this interest within their in- 
stitutional program. That task had to be left to the 
church. And when the church colleges fell into step with 
the state-supported schools religion as a phase of educa- 
tion rapidly faded out of the picture. 

Thus the problem of teaching religion has been handed 
back to the local churches. But churches are not academic 
institutions. Their essential function is to persuade people 
to adopt and pursue the Christian way of life. They have 
neither the time nor the facilities for making people 
academically intelligent about the subject of religion. The 
importance of religious education as an activity of the local 
church is very great, and deserves the heartiest encourage- 


ment and support, but one cannot demand of the church 
that it transform itself into a religious college. It cannot 
command the necesary preparatory disciplines in study on 
the part of those whom it teaches, nor can it support an 
adequately trained staff of instructors, to meet college 
standards in its educational work. The ultimate aim of re- 
ligious education in the church is, and should be, evangel- 
ism in the best sense of that term. It should not and can- 
not be strictly academic enlightenment. 

Still another factor in relegating religion to a subor- 
dinate place in the college curriculum has been the rapid 
development of the sciences. In the early days of the de- 
nominational college religion was taught largely in terms 
of some traditional set of theological doctrines. These be- 
liefs were phrased in language and imagery that belonged 
to a pre-scientif ic age and were taught as though they were 
truths revealed from heaven. Religious instruction im- 
parted this ready-made body of wisdom. But science made 
education a quest for new truth rather than the inculcation 
of ideas handed down from the past. Too often the teach- 
ers of religion failed to appreciate this new interest. In 
stead of conducting a quest for fresh religious knowledge, 
they persisted in imposing their traditional dogmas upon 
students, with the result that there seemed to be an ir- 
reconcilable conflict between religion and science. When 
this feeling was awakened it was inevitable that the more 
eager students would become suspicious of religion and 
would abandon it in favor of science as an educational dis- 

Lastly, one may note the development of the elective 
system as a factor that further contributed to religion's 
loss of prestige. In more recent times many new subjects 
have been added to the courses offered in the colleges. It 
is no longer possible for every student to take every avail- 
able subject. Hence there is a tendency to set up a mini- 
mum of required work to be supplemented by electives in 
accordance with the taste of the pupil. When, as often hap- 
pens, religion is placed in the elective list it is no longer 


thought to be one of the fundamentals of a good education. 
It becomes at best only a subsidiary interest or is entirely 
ignored. Since it is not essential, its presence in the cur- 
riculum comes to be regarded as a decorative supplement 
or an impertinent intrusion. 


A second group of causes militating against the aca- 
demic respectability of religion has to be laid at the door of 
the very advocates of the subject. Even the teachers them- 
selves have sometimes lacked a clear conception -of their 
task as college instructors. The fundamental duty of the 
teacher is to effect the mental enlightenment of his pupils 
in the subject with which he deals. He is a purveyor of 
knowledge, an inciter of curiosity and a provoker of think- 
ing. These are the terms in which his didactic success is 
capable of being measured. If he is a good teacher of, say, 
mathematics his students will acquire a taste for the solu- 
tion of original problems. If they have been properly 
taught literature they will feel an urge to write composi- 
tions of their own. Or if they pursue the disciplines of 
history, philosophy or science they will learn to collect, 
measure and evaluate data as a personal responsibility 
imposed upon them by virtue of the fact that they claim 
to be educated people. 

Teachers of religion in the colleges have not always 
emulated this academic ideal of free curiosity and individ- 
ual initiative. Tradition imposed upon them a different 
responsibility. In the denominational college they, more 
than any other member of the faculty, were charged with 
the task of maintaining intact the original tenets of the 
faith. Prying curiosity or divergent opinions had some- 
how to be smothered or obliterated in their classrooms. The 
touring range of the mind for both them and their pupils 
had to remain within that restricted area where landing 
fields of traditional propriety were always available. 
Working under these restrictions the teacher of religion 
was seriously handicapped. His courses seemed to be of a 
different type from other subjects in the curriculum. His 


colleagues and the student body quickly developed a su- 
periority complex with reference to secular subjects and 
the teacher of religion was left alone to enjoy his solitary 

Under these circumstances it is not surprising that re- 
ligion has often been inadequately, if not indeed blindly, 
taught in the colleges. When persuasion rather than en- 
lightenment is made the final goal of effort instruction 
cannot be truly scientific in the modern academic sense of 
the term. But teachers of religion are not the only sinners 
in this respect. The teacher of history or of politics may 
have the same beam in his eye. He may be more concerned 
to praise or to blame than to understand his national he- 
roes, and more desirous of making of his pupils loyal dem- 
ocrats or republicans than of equipping their minds with 
unbiased enlightenment upon political, social and eco- 
nomic problems. Apologists and propagandists are by no 
means peculiarly religious phenomena. Yet in college cir- 
cles probably religion, if not the greatest sinner, has at 
least been the greatest sufferer because of the popular sus- 
picion that its ideals elevated persuasion above enlighten- 

The academic effectiveness of the teacher of religion 
has been further impaired by an assumption that the pri- 
mary purpose of his instruction is to make the students 
more religious. He should effect the conversion of those 
not already members of the church and should make the 
others loyal churchmen. In his desire to accomplish these 
worthy ends he may, perhaps all unconsciously, have al- 
lowed the work of his classes to be deflected from the 
straight line of academic rectitude. The classroom is not 
the place for either evangelism or the cultivation of ec- 
clesiastical loyalties, however important these activities 
may be in other connections. The instructor will hope that 
mental enlightenment may make of his students better 
Christians and better churchmen, but he will not consent 
to employ any other technique of revivalism in his strictly 
professional activity. 


The attempts to make religion a vital concern of col- 
lege and university students have been sincere and per- 
sistent. In former times the Young Men's and the Young 
Women's Christian Associations actively endeavored to 
discharge this responsibility. Student Christian Associa- 
tions have been set up for a similar purpose. Various 
churches interested in the welfare of the young men and 
women who go away to college have established "houses" 
or "foundations" at different educational centers with a 
student adviser or pastor in charge. These leaders also 
conduct classes in religion for which some of the institu- 
tions allow academic credit. The National Council on Re- 
ligion in Higher Education has specialized on the selection 
and training of persons for this type of work. All of these 
efforts are immensely valuable in keeping before students 
the ideals of the Christian way of life. The personal re- 
ligion of members of the student body is a matter of the 
highest importance, but it is essentially an extra-curricu- 
lar and non-academic activity. And so long as the teach- 
ing of religion is left solely to these agencies it will never 
acquire full academic standing, however valuable in other 
respects the work may be. 

In schools where religion is taught by regularly ap- 
pointed members of the faculty the subject has sometimes 
suffered from failure on the part of instructors to adjust 
the content and method to the specific needs of a college 
audience. If neither evangelism nor denominationalism 
is the ultimate goal of the teacher's effort, then at what 
target does he aim? 

A survey of the courses commonly offered by depart- 
ments of religion in the colleges is suggestive in this con- 
nection. Many of them seem to have a distinctly profes- 
sional emphasis. They deal with matters that might con- 
cern persons who have in view the ministry as a profes- 
sion but are remote from the interests of the student body 
in general. The teacher himself is the product of a train- 
ing in the theological seminary, where professionalism is 
the proper goal of education, and naturally he offers his 


college students the same program that he pursued in the 
seminary. He waters down the information to what he 
thinks to be the college level but does not essentially 
change the professional aim and emphasis of the course. 
He fails clearly to define for himself at the start the func- 
tional purpose of his course with reference to a distinc- 
tively college clientele. Probably this is one of the reasons 
why religion has had difficulty in integrating itself within 
the college curriculum. 

Kindred impediments to success result from habitual 
phrasings of the general subject itself. It is a common as- 
sumption that teaching religion simply means courses on 
the Bible. It is popularly assumed by Protestants that 
they derive their religion from the Bible. But a college 
student who has had the barest introduction to history, 
literature, sociology and psychology cannot remain content 
with the notion that the religion of real people can be iden- 
tified with knowledge of an ancient book. He is apt to re- 
mark that the Bible itself was not the source but the prod- 
uct of religion at a specific time and place in history. And 
in the total course of the development of religion, or even 
of Christianity, the Bible is not only a product but per- 
haps merely a by-product of the process. It is people, not 
a book, who make religion a going concern in the world, 
and a faith that has no living exponents is a dead religion. 
And so it happens that college students today who might 
be interested in religion as a vital concern of real people 
find little or no attraction in the study of the Bible as an 
ancient book. 

Sometimes an effort has been made to redeem the chair 
of religion from ignominy by christening it with the new 
name of Religious Education. But no conspicuous ad- 
vantage has followed, if indeed there has not been an 
actual loss of prestige. No one in his right mind would 
question the propriety of applying to religion the devices 
and programs of the best possible educational methodology. 
But methods of instruction can never serve as a substitute 
for the content of the thing to be taught. There are some 


extremists who allege that it is more important to know 
how to teach mathematics or history or chemistry than it 
is to know the content of these subjects. But common 
sanity pronounces a contrary verdict. Academic dignity 
for the study of religion cannot be augmented by elaborat- 
ing techniques for the teaching of a subject whose content 
has not first been thoroughly mastered. 


What shall the procedure be for giving religion a sub- 
stantial place in the college curriculum? 

First, let the courses be designed primarily for cultural 
purposes. Eliminate any tendency toward professionalism, 
denominational propaganda and evangelism. If these in- 
terests are to be cultivated among students, as well they 
may be, let the proper agencies be set up for these pur- 
poses but rigidly exclude them from the academic instruc- 
tion in the regular classroom. Its rigorous ideal should be 
to make the pupils intelligent about religion as a field of 
knowledge no less definite and objective than history, lit- 
erature or science. One will have faith that enlightenment 
about religion will improve the quality of the student's 
personal religion, just as enlightenment about English will, 
the instructor hopes, improve the diction of the letters 
written by the student to his parents at home. In fact the 
improvement may be so marked that the parents will have 
difficulty in understanding the correspondence without 
some painful resort to a dictionary. And student enlighten- 
ment in religion may at first occasion parental anxiety, 
but birth-pangs and growing pains are inevitable in the 
processes of the spiritual as well as the physical life. 

If one approaches the study of religion as a phase of 
our total cultural heritage one will avoid the temptation to 
treat it as a phenomenon existing in a vacuum, or as a 
phase of education unrelated to other fundamental ele- 
ments in a college curriculum. Religious interests and ac- 
tivities have always played a prominent part in the evolu- 
tion of human history. Let the student become fully aware 


of this fact at the outset. And since our heritage stems 
more immediately from the Hebrew and Chi-istian re- 
ligions, the main lines of development througli which these 
faiths have passed from early times to the present day 
will constitute the best preparatory study for further ac- 
quaintance with the subject. In this survey religion should 
be presented as an integral factor in social history. 

When a student has acquired this point of view the 
various phases of religious history no longer seem isolated 
from, or unrelated to, the interests of the well-educated 
man. He learns that the Bible is not an exotic plant in hu- 
man culture but a collection of writings tnat gradually 
emerged in the course of a thousand years or more as a 
product of human effort to grasp and perpetuate the high- 
est moral and spiritual ideals that men of those ancient 
days were capable of apprehending. The best way to teach 
Bible to college students is to introduce them to its several 
parts at the points where these parts emerged in Hebrew or 
Christian history, and to carry on the story of the collec- 
tion and preservation of the books as a phase of subsequent 
cultural developments. To reverse this process, by begin- 
ning with the finished product when the student knows 
nothing of the background and conditions out of which it 
came, is not only bad pedagogy but is disastrous to the 
awakening of educational zeal. 

Every aspect of religion that has perpetuated itself 
down to modern times can be advantageously approached 
from this social and genetic point of view. Open up the 
subject for the student by letting him first see how the 
conditions of American life from the days of the earliest 
settlements down to the pres^it have contributed to and 
have been moulded by the persistence of religious interests 
that have been nourished by the churches. Then he will 
not receive in wide-eyed astonishment, as a bewildering 
fact to be mechanically memorized, the statement that 
some two hundred different denominations exist in Anier- 
ica today. Rather, he will have anticipated the fact before 
it is stated and will have become interested in tracing the 



causes and consequences of the cultural process that has 
issued in this remarkable manner. And his outlook on life 
will have been broadened and stabilized by an intelligent 
understanding of how things have come to be and of the 
multitudinous considerations that must be taken into ac- 
count in facing and shaping the future. 

This is the type of knowledge about religion that every 
well-educated person should possess. And it is the function 
of the college to convey to its pupils this intellectual equip- 
ment. Heretofore that duty has been very poorly dis- 
charged. It is not uncommon to meet college graduates 
who can give you no intelligent answer to such questions 
as, why are there more churches than banks in the average 
American town? Why do we have a general holiday once 
a week? Why do you append a sworn statement of ac- 
curacy to your income tax return? Why does the legisla- 
ture of the United States have an official chaplain? Why 
do we have chaplains in the army and the navy? Why do 
so many people want a clergyman to officiate at a mar- 
riage ceremony or at a funeral? Whence did Shakespeare 
derive his standards of good English? Why does much of 
our finest music deal with religious themes? Why is it 
that churches represent the finest types of architecture in 
a community? Why is the chapel made the most attrac- 
tive building on the college campus? Why are there so 
many colleges in America? These and a host of similar 
questions can be accurately answered only as one knows 
how closely religion has become interwoven with the 
course of our cultural development. 

How are the colleges to make sure that their graduates 
are not lacking in these qualifications for the educated 
man ? In building the college curriculum educators strug- 
gle with the problem of prescribed and elective courses. 
They veer sometimes to one extreme and sometimes to the 
other. But generally they feel it necessary to require a 
modicum of courses regarded as essential for the breadth 
and depth of an education that should be the possession of 
every graduate. Prescribed subjects are thought to insure 


a stable foundation for the superstructure of learning. As 
yet no more effective technique has been devised. And 
only by including courses in religion in these prescriptions 
can this neglected phase of our college training be cor- 

This is a task which the state-supported institutions can 
only hesitatingly perform. They are inhibited from teach- 
ing religion because it is popularly identified with denomi- 
nationalism. In order to satisfy the jealousies of rival com- 
munions the state might have to support some two hundred 
odd teachers of religion in the same institution. But the 
private college is not thus hampered, and if it can rise 
above evangelistic, denominational and professional limi- 
tations, and make its instruction in religion a distinctively 
cultural discipline, there is no impropriety in including 
this subject among its required courses. 

This type of course ought to approach religion as an 
aspect of our cultural inheritance that has arisen and been 
cultivated by persons living in concrete environmental sit- 
uations and participating in the processes of social evolu- 
tion by which civilization always has been and still is con- 
ditioned. In this I'espect religion takes its place beside lit- 
erature, history, philosophy, science, or any other subject 
that has played a conspicuous role in the history of civiliza- 
tion. Every young person who aspires to a liberal educa- 
tion, whether or not he is a member of any church, or 
whatever may be his intentions with respect to a future 
professional career, ought in his college days to acquire an 
intelligent awareness of the main factors that have entered 
into the making of the world in which he must live. Re- 
quired courses in religion, if they are of the proper type, 
are no more out of place in a liberal arts college than re- 
quired courses in history, literature or the social and phy- 
sical sciences. An educated person cannot dispense with 
any of these disciplines that are designed to make him in- 
telligently at home in a modern world. 




By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 

Florida Southern College 

Lakeland, Florida 

Small groups, even minorities, are frequently more 
powerful and more influential than large groups. In the 
United States, where the emphasis for more than three 
centuries has been on groivth and expansion in everything, 
quantity has almost always been substituted for quality. 
Due to the peculiar character of the territory that has fi- 
nally been transformed into the United States of America, 
this quantitative emphasis has worked well and has changed 
a wilderness into the civilized nation that we know today. 
The time has come, however, when reliance can no longer 
be placed on expansion alone. 

The current census reveals that for the first time the 
center of American population has failed to move west- 
ward and that the percentage of population increase has 
dropped to a new low figure. These two facts indicate 
primarily that no longer can expansion be the keynote of 
American thinking. 

Emphasis on quantity still lingers in most areas of 
American life. Especially is this true in regard to the 
population, in spite of the fact that five decades ago the 
Superintendent of the Census declared that the "frontier" 
had passed from the American scene. Two decades ago 
Congress shut off immigration, thereby giving legal status 
to the earlier conclusion of the Census Bureau. Still the 
demand for increasing quantity is widespread. Once each 
decade Americans in the tiniest hamlets and the largest 
metropolitan areas pay homage to the Goddess of Number, 
who makes herself apparent to her followers in the nature 
of population statistics. No self-respecting American com- 
munity will permit the census to show a drop in popula- 
tion. Recounts must be m jr suburbs added to prevent 


the dire calamity of a declining head count. An ever in- 
creasing population must be maintained to prove that it is 
a prosperous community. No thought is given to the fact 
that physical gi'owth is more characteristic of immaturity 
than maturity. 

The American churches pay homage to the same sta- 
tistics. The churches have long prided themselves on the 
fact that they can exhibit an unbroken record of a steadilj" 
increasing number of members. Indeed great satisfaction 
has been felt when the proportionate gain in church mem- 
bership has been greater than in national population. De- 
nominations that have gained at a faster rate than their 
rivals have paraded this fact as a mark of superiority. The 
pi'eliminary figures of the most recent census of religious 
bodies (1936) indicate that one of the major denomina- 
tions has lost nearly ten thousand church organizations 
and more than three-quarters of a million members. This 
denomination has protested the figures and demanded that 
they must not be published as final until an independent 
check may be made, for a declining membership will tend 
to place the denomination in a very unfavorable position. 
Just as with municipalities, denominations must show 
numerical growth if possible. The census ."^hows a million 
and a quarter gain in membership in religious bodies dur- 
ing the past decade, bringing the total to 55,807,366. The 
population of the country in 1940 is in excess of 130,000,- 
000, thus showing that approximately one out of each two 
and one-third persons is affiliated with some religious 

How does this i*atio of one to two and one-thii'd com- 
pare with the earlier years of America? Most people have 
some general ideas about America's colonization by reli- 
gious enthusiasts, strict Sabbath observance in many of the 
colonies, the vast influence of the clergy in the colonial 
governments, and the Puritan virtues that have become 
almost legendary. When apprised that foi'ty-two per cent 
of the total population in the United States today is coti- 
nected with some church, most people usually estimate 


that the percentage must have been much higher in colonial 
days. Indeed, upon recalling certain events of our churchly 
past, college students almost invariably estimate that from 
ninety to nine-five per cent of the colonists were church 
members. A similar estimate would doubtless be rather 
widespread. It is a great shock to many to learn that the 
present high proportion is among the highest ever attained 
in America and that at many times and in many places 
during the colonial period not one person in twenty, less 
than five per cent, held membership in any religious body. 
Thus, the highest ratio in membership and, some would 
have us believe, the lowest level in influence have now been 
reached almost simultaneously. 

This unusually high estimate of the number of colonial 
church members bears tribute to the very significant fact 
that w^e cannot express our conception of influence except 
in terms of large numbers. The immediate conclusion is 
that if the church was much more influential than it is at 
the present time, then surely since nearly half of the peo- 
ple belong to some church now, practically all must have 
belonged then. These estimates likewise acknowledge two 
other things. First, the almost universal belief that the 
churches were at one time in our history more influential 
than today, and, second, an almost equally universal igno- 
rance of the development of American Christianity. Little 
is it realized by many that one of the ways the church 
exerted such an unusual influence in some of the colonies 
was through the exact opposite of a practice long regarded 
as essential to American democracy — the complete separa- 
tion of church and state. This should not be construed, on 
the other hand, as meaning that the church was always 
most influential where one or the other of the denomina- 
tions was the "established church." 

Which regions were so thoroughly unchurched as to 
bring the average for the colonies to so low a figure? Cer- 
tainly it could not have been New England for here the 
most devout persons from England settled. The Pilgrims 
at Plymouth had moved about over Europe and thence to 


America in pursuit of religious freedom. Surely they were 
all church members. Likewise the Puritans on Massachu- 
setts Bay were quite devout and must have been members 
of the church. Midway in the colonial period there was a 
great revival and did this not bring into the church what- 
ever number remained outside? Was the Church of Eng- 
land not the established church in many of the colonies 
with vast numbers on its rolls? In the Revolutionary period 
were not patriotism and religion synonymous, with many 
of the clergymen outstanding in championing the cause of 
freedom? Where then was this vast unchurched throng? 

Church membership in the colonies, from the beginning, 
had been a matter of the few and not of the masses. In- 
terestingly enough, this vast unchurched group was prac- 
tically co-extensive with the area of settlement. While il 
is true that there were wide variations from colony to 
colony, church members were almost everywhere in the 

Among the Pilgrims themselves by no means were all of 
them the Separatists who had gone from Scrooby to Ley- 
den before coming to America. In fact only thirty-five of 
the Mayflower's passenger list of over a hundred have 
been identified as belonging to the Leyden group, and of 
these less than a dozen came from Scrooby and Austerfield. 
Doubtless others not readily identified were associated 
with one or both of these groups. Threats of rebellion 
against this migrating Separatist "congregation" gave 
rise to that document venerated by constitutional his- 
torians — the Mayflower Compact. 

Before leaving England the Pilgrim leaders had secured 
a patent from the Virginia Company, authorizing them to 
settle within the limits of Virginia and conferring upon 
them a large measure of self-government. This document 
was inoperative outside of Virginia. It became necessary, 
therefore, since the Pilgrims had failed to land in Virginia, 
to make other arrangements, especially as several of their 
number being "not well affected to unity and concord . . . 


gave some appearance of faction." Thus the Mayflower 
Compact was drawn up to bring the non-church group 
along with those of the congregation under the terms of a 
Separatist church covenant, M^hich the compact closelj^ re- 

At Massachusetts Bay, where colonists began to settle 
about a decade after the Pilgrims first settled at Plymouth, 
few were "gentlemen" and Puritans. The majority were 
middle-class folk little concerned with religion. Hardly a 
fifth of the Massachusetts Bay colonists even professed to 
be Christians, let alone Puritans. 

The strict laws relating to religion and to Sabbath ob- 
servance are frequently cited as evidence of great reli- 
gious concern among the Massachusetts populace. On the 
contrary, these laws reveal something entirely different. 
Just as the Ten Commandments more nearly reveal what 
the Hebrews were not doing rather than what they were, 
so with many of the laws pertaining to religion in the col- 
onies. The laws reveal that it was necessary to exert pres- 
sure on many in the community in order to obtain even a 
semblance of adherence to established religious institutions. 
Had all or most of the inhabitants been abiding by these 
principles, little occasion would have been found for trans- 
lating alreadj^ widely observed customs into laws. Most 
assuredly, the absence of laws regulating religious life. Sab- 
bath observance, for example, does not necessarily imply 
that all are observing the Sabbath. However, the presence 
of such a law need mean no more than that one group, per- 
haps a minority one, is trying to force its will upon the 
entire populace. 

Congregational New England secured compulsory 
church attendance for all but could not secure conversion 
or church membership as easily. The requirement of re- 
lating a satisfactory religious experience before the con- 
gregation as a basis for church membership meant that 
few could qualify. The Congregational church was forced 
to modify the basis for membership, so in 1662 adopted 


the Halfway Covenant whereby children of unconverted 
parents, who had shared the covenant with their parents, 
might receive baptism, but not the Lord's Supper or take 
part in church elections. The strictness of the require- 
ments for church membership, since membership generally 
carried with it the civil voting privilege, had the practical 
effect of disfranchisement for many by the third and 
fourth generations. The church membership laws had 
much to do with forcing settlements with less strict laws 
beyond the bounds of the Massachusetts Bay colony. 

The American colonies had become by 1730 the greatest 
unchurched regions in Christendom. When the Great 
Awakening started in this third decade of the eighteenth 
century there were very few church members in proportion 
to the population. Great numbers were added to all the 
larger colonial denominations, especially to the Congrega- 
tionalists in New England, to the Presbyterians in the mid- 
dle colonies, and to the Presbyterians and Baptists in the 
southern colonies. While it is true many thousands joined 
the churches, it is likewise true that the supply of non- 
members was almost limitless. In New England, where 
the highest percentage of church members was already 
found, many more joined. Out of a population of 300,000 
between twenty-five and fifty thousand were added be- 
tween 1740 and 1742, yet New England was far from being 
totally churched on the eve of the American Revolution. 
By 1760 the proportion of members there was no greater 
than one in seven, due in part to the rapid growth in popu- 
lation and in part to the operation of the Halfway Cove- 

In the other colonies the percentage of church mem- 
bers was doubtless much smaller than in New England. In 
the middle colonies the lack of established churches in a 
large measure accounted for the small membership. There 
were many sects, most of them quite small in numerical 
strength, among the German settlers, and the Germans 
like many Scotch-Irish had for the most part come largely 


without ministers and there were few church organizations 
among them. Professor William W. Sweet estimates that 
toward the close of the colonial period the proportion of 
the churched to the unchurched in Virginia was one in 
twenty and in the Carolinas still less. In the southern 
colonies the Anglican Church was established by law, but 
there was never an Anglican bishop in the colonies, hence 
confirmation of members was impossible. 

At the end of the American Revolution there still re- 
mained more unchurched people in North America, in pro- 
portion to the population, than elsewhere in Christendom. 
This had been the case throughout most of the colonial 
period. Yet, in spite of relatively small membership rolls, 
the church was undoubtedly the most influential institu- 
tion in the colonies. We make no error when we ascribe 
to the colonial church a place of much power. We err 
when we suppose that most colonists were church mem- 
bers. The church seldom derives great influence from 
sheer numbers. Indeed, when any church becomes large 
in numbers it takes on characteristics and complexities 
that make it impossible to exercise the same influence, 
either on its members or on society, that came from the 
smaller group. The best illustration of this is found in 
numerous state churches wherein all citizens hold at least 
theoretical membership. 

One reason for the modern assumption that the church 
is losing influence comes from a confusion of the terms 
influence and control. What is more often meant than in- 
fluence is that the churches are not able to dictate to their 
members about details of conduct. An essayist in a recent 
article that received wide circulation indicated this pre- 
vailing confusion when he wrote that a certain large de- 
nomination was an impotent political force because in the 
forthcoming presidential election four million of its mem- 
bers would vote for the Democratic candidate while anoth- 
er four million were voting for the Republican nominee- 
He fails to realize that when a church becomes large in 
membership and co-extensive with the geographical limits 


of the nation that the complexities of contemporary cul- 
ture likewise become those of the church. Absolute dicta- 
tion of action is no longer possible. 

A great deal of the influence of the colonial church 
came from a type of control no longer possible or desirable. 
Indeed, the church did much to make such control impos- 
sible. In some of the colonies suffrage was limited to 
church members, in others office-holding was so limited. 

The chief influence of the colonial church, however, 
was not realized through this form of control. Influence 
came, rather, from the character of the church leadership. 
In the colonies where influence was greatest, there the 
leadership was best. The Church of England, as one ex- 
ample, suffered far more from incompetent leadership than 
from the lack of members. In the colonial period, as now, 
church influence was more directly related to the nature 
of the leadership and the quality of the membership than 
to the quantity of either. 



The Florida Religious Association 

A very significant event, that has thus far passed 
largely unnoticed, is the organization of the Florida Re- 
ligious Association. A committee on organization, of which 
Mr. George L. Chindahl of Maitland was chairman, and 
Miss Janet Daugherty of Winter Park was secretary, ar- 
ranged for a meeting that was held at Florida Southern 
College in Lakeland, April 29 and 30, 1940. The association 
defined its purpose to be: 

/ ^ (1) The promotion of fellowship among persons who 
/ are interested in religious studies and activity. 

(2) The gathering of information on the history of 
religious movements in Florida. 

(3) The consideration of religious education in edu- 
cational institutions, churches, synagogues and other com- 
munity g roup s. 

The following brief transcript of the proceedings at 
the meeting has been furnished by Mr. Chindahl : 

Monday evening, April 29, dinner was served in the Stu- 
dent Activity Building on the campus of Florida Southern 
College, Dr. A. Fred Turner, Minister of the First Metho- 
dist Church of Orlando, presiding. 

At 7:45 Dean Shirley Jackson Case, of the Florida 
School of Religion, delivered an address on "Religion in 
the College Curriculum." His paper related particularly 
to formal courses in religion and the Bible, and indicated 
the reasons why, in his opinion, religion does not occupy 
a position of respect in the curriculum of the average col- 
lege. Among these reasons are the fact that the courses 
in religion are elective, that the subject is usually taught 
in an authoritative way, freedom of thought being dis- 
courapod and that too often the courses ar: taught with 


a view to evangelism and professionalism. (This paper 
is published in full in this issue of Religion in the Mak- 

Dean William Eugene DeMelt, of Florida Southern Col- 
lege, led a brief discussion of the subject. It was pointed 
out that religion might also be an informal or incidental 
part of the curriculum in connection with the teaching of 
astronomy, biology, psychology, sociology, etc. 

The sessions on Tuesday, April 30, had for their gen- 
eral theme "Religion in its relation to security of life." The 
first session at 9:00 A. M. was under the leadership of 
Professor A. Buel Trowbridge, Jr., of Rollins College. The 
chairman referred to a general feeling of insecurity 
through the world. 

Professor Harry Crawford Garwood, of John B. Stetson 
University, delivered an address on "What guarantees does 
the religion of the Old Testament offer as to security of 
life?" The speaker referred to the human desire for se- 
curity of existence, food, peace of mind, freedom from 
danger, sickness and want. The Old Testament sets forth 
God's purpose for his people, the covenant between himself 
and the Hebrew nation, the results when kings and people 
broke the covenant, the promises of the prophets, the con- 
fidence in God's care as expressed in many of the psalms, 
notably the 23rd, and the history of the nation as proof 
that God cares for his own when they are obedient. 

In the discussion that followed, it was noted that the 
security offered by the Old Testament was primarily for 
the nation, rather than for the individual. However, in 
later centuries there came a realization that God's concern 
was also for the individual. 

The question was raised as to whether we should do- 
sire security. Do not young people and adults frequently 
wish to live dangerously? 

When it was suggested that all wish psychic seou'ity, 
the point was made that it is difficult to separate economic 


security from spiritual security. There was some discus- 
sion as to whether spiritual security flows from economic 
security, or vice versa. "Man shall not live by bread 
alone." The righteous have been seen "begging bread." 

Reverend Jesse L. Murrell, Minister of the First Meth- 
odist Church of Daytona Beach, read a paper on the ques- 
tion, "What guarantees does the religion of the New Testa- 
ment offer as to security of life?" It may be summarized 
by saying that God is f atherlj'' in his nature ; that the uni- 
verse is dependable; that human rights will be vindicated 
soon or ultimately; that the reign of righteousness will 
finally prevail upon the earth ; that we may have f ellov/- 
ship with Jesus, our Saviour in the fierce struggles of 
life ; and that faith in him is creative and results in power 
for high living. 

Professor Anna Forbes Liddell, of the Florida State 
College for Women, presided during the second period. 
Dr. J. Quinter Miller, Executive Secretary, Field Depart- 
ment, Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, 
spoke on "The Relation of the Study of the Materials of 
Worship to the Quality of the Worship Experience." He 
cited the results of two experiments, showing to a high 
degree of certainty that previous study of hymns, Scrip- 
ture, choral responses, prayers, etc., enhanced the quality 
of worship in services held days or weeks later. Genuine 
worship is creative and promotes security of life. 

Rev. C. E. Wyatt, Minister of the First Christian 
Church of Lakeland, in speakir<j on the proper emphases in 
the use of Biblical materials, hymns and prayers relating 
to security of life, said that there is no security in material 
things; that prayer should emphasize the victory of right- 
eousness ; that emotional hymns should be used ; that al- 
though the Bible contains the revealed Word of God, it is 
not infallible in matters outside the realm of religion. 

Following luncheon in the college cafeteria, a business 
session was held for the purpose of completing the organ- 
ization of the Association. 


Rev. V. B. Chicoine, Minister of the Winter Park Con- 
gregational Christian Church, presided at the last session. 
Mrs. J. W. Blake of Lakeland spoke on the religious edu- 
cation of children, pointing out the need of children for 
temporal as well as psychic security, and noting that 
church school leaders may promote psychic security of the 
children in their charge, and particularly newcomers, by 
unobstrusive friendliness. 

Dr. E. C. Nance, Dean of Knowles Memorial Chapel, 
Rollins College, spoke on the religious education of youth in 
the matter of security of life. He discussed the case of 
a high school or college student who has been brought up 
to accept literally Matthew 6:33 and 7:11 and I Peter 
5:7; the case of a student from an Oxford Group home or 
a Christian Science home; and the case of a student from 
an irreligious home. The student in each case becomes 
aware of the precariousness of this world. In respect of 
the first case. Dean Nance does not believe that any teacher 
can formulate a hand-me-down answer that would fit 
every student who finds himself in such a situation. After 
seeking to know the student as well as possible, the teacher 
should not take out old timbers until they can be replaced 
with stronger ones. He may recommend the reading of 
such books as Fosdick's "Meaning of Faith," Harkness' 
"Religious Living," Bennett's "Christianity and Our 
World," or Wicks' "The Reason for Living." The teacher 
will point out the law of cause and effect, and that to seek 
the Kingdom of God the student will have to work with 

God to eliminate the causes of certain sad effects. To 
survive in this world, the student who accepts literally 
every passage in the Bible on faith must have other spir- 
itual assets. He must recognize that God is not the cause 
of the precarious aspects of society. 

To the foregoing. Dean Nance would add for Case 2, 
the recommendation of some special reading on the historj'' 
of these two movements, and would try to help him cval- 



uate his faith in the light of reality and in the light of the 

As to Case 3, one would probably find less difficultj'' 
in helping him, for with such a student one could begin at 
the beginning, aiding him to build an intelligent religious 

To sum up the addresses and discussions briefly : Re- 
ligion offers psychic rather than temporal security, but 
psychic security promotes temporal security. Children 
need temporal as well as psychic security, but youths and 
adults ought not to be unduly anxious for temporal secu- 
rity, but should be ventursome in behalf of the Kingdom of 




Head of Department of 
Philosophy and Eeligion 

Florida State College 
For Women 

Tallahassee, Florida 



S. S. Congregational Church 

Winter Park, Florida 



Orlando, Florida 



Rt. 1 - Box 33D 

Winter Park, Florida 



Associate Professor of Religion, 

Rollins College 

1290 Palmer Avenue 

Winter Park, Florida 


Catholic Church 
Winter Park, Florida 



Councilor, Epworth League, 

Methodist Church 

El Cortez Apartments 

Winter Park, Florida 


Man's Search For Himself. By Edwin Ewart Aubrey. 
Nashville: The Cokesbury Press, 1940. 218 pages. $1.75. 

These six addresses recently delivered as the Cole Lec- 
tures at Vanderbilt University are a searching inquiry into 
the nature and experiences of human personality. They 
embody the latest findings of scholars in the field of psy- 
chology, both individual and social. Man is viewed as a per- 
son inseparably connected with the diverse phases of the 
cultural scene in our present-day world. And an attempt 
is made to define the way in which the Christian man can 
proceed to understand himself and realize in his living the 
highest attainments of which he is capable. 

The introductory lecture clears the ground and analyzes 
the problem in the light of modern interests and condi- 
tions. The second lecture on the "solitariness of man" 
paints a rather somber picture of the human individual. 
The man here depicted is the restless, frustrated person so 
familiar to us nowadays in the anthropological theories of 
many writers who seem to see in man himself the genetic 
unit of the modern world's disrupted life. Assuming this 
to be the typical man. one concludes that no genuine peace 
of mind can be reached apart from resort to some power 
outside of man himself. This he finds in communion with 
God made attainable by means of the life and teaching of 
Jesus Christ. Thus one is able to reaffirm the traditional 
doctrines of man's sinfulness and Christ's saviorhood. 

The third and fourth lectures deal with man as a social 
being. Personality is capable of realization only in a vital 
social context, and thoroughly integrated life is impossible 
apart from participation in the common interests of the 
community. But even in these areas futility is thought to 
be the ordinary experience of men until they have linked 
themselves with the dynamic power of Deity which is the 
integrating force in the universe. This divine presence is 
the Holy Spirit of traditional dogma which needs to be re- 


stored in the faith of modern man. Christians thus bound 
together by this extra-human bond, and through their wor- 
ship and moral endeavor, bring the Kingdom of God to 
realization. But since God is ever-moving the Kingdom 
is ever-becoming. 

The sixth lecture discusses *'the search for freedom" 
both in association with others and in the realization of the 
individual's destinies. Man has freedom so long as he 
maintains fellowship with the Spirit of God. Under this 
supernatural guidance he is free to determine his own 
moral action both as an individual and as a member of the 
community. This would seem to be a precarious kind of 
freedom, since man free to do God's will is of himself in- 
capable of this accomplishment except under the direction 
of the Holy Spirit. 

i he final lecture is a summary of the earlier discussion, 
with admonitions for human action. We live in a moving 
universe, God being the dynamic force that supports the 
moving process. It is through man that this dynamic pro- 
cess operates and hence he is responsible for the future 
of the world. Yet beneath all runs the divine cosmic 
purpose which men may deter or abet according to their 
choices. Only in fellowship with others can man perform 
his part and this fellowship rests not upon rational ground, 
but on the duty of loving one another as this ideal was em- 
bodied in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The uni- 
verse is a continuing phenomenon supported by a power 
which knowledge can only feebly grasp but which is more 
completely apprehended by an awareness that goes beyond 
knowledge. One must have this power of imagination to 
penetrate behind this world of ours to the more ultimate 
reality if religion is to be an omnipresent fact. 

Readers will find the author well-informed at every 
point. His thinking is clear-cut and his argument proceeds 
toward a definite goal. In his conception of religion, he 
has a pronounced leaning toward mysticism in both its in- 
dividual and its social aspects. His view of man is some- 


what morbid, like that of many present-daj' writers, but 
lie doos not explicity reaffii'm the traditional notions of 
original sin or total depravity. He leaves man with a large 
measure of responsibility for creating a good world but 
he also retains the older notion of a supernatural ordering 
of the world and history. He frames no constructive argu- 
ment in defense of the traditional soteriology and Christ- 
ology, yet he reaffirms the validity of these notions when 
stated in terms of his way of thinking. He seems to have 
given us, not so much a new construction of theological 
thought, as a new apologetic for the older terminology. 
The drift of the book is away from the rational and logical 
phrasing of religion toward values residing in the emo- 
tional and mystical spheres. It deserves careful reading 
and elicits strenuous thinking on problems that concern 
every serious religious person involved in the complexities 
of our modern life. 

A Short History of Christianity. Written in collabora- 
tion by Archibald G. Baker, Editor, Massey H. Shepherd, 
Jr., John T. McNeill, Matthew Spinka, Winfred E. Garri- 
son, William W. Sweet. Chicago: The University of Chi- 
cago Press, 1940. 279 pages. $2.00. 

This is not just another statistical condensation of 
proper names, dates, creedal controversies and institutional 
establishments that have accompanied the history of Chris- 
tianity. Rather, the aim has been to give a bird's-eye view 
of the history that may be read with understanding and 
interest by one who has only a limited time at his disposal 
but desires to gain a comprehensive grasp of the process 
by which the Christian religion has developed from its 
obscure beginnings in Palestine nineteen hundred yeai's 
ago to its present status as a world-embracing movement. 
Every main phase of the development has been given pro- 
portionate consideration. Too frequently western writers 
concern themselves only with the history of the church in 
Europe and Britain. But this book has no such limited per- 
spective. It includes also the history of the eastern 
churches, the story of Christianity's spread in the United 


States of America, its growth in Hispanic America and 
in Canada, and its establishment on various new frontiers 
by the modern missionary enterprise. 

In spite of the fact that the book is written by six dif- 
ferent authors, its unity of purpose and continuity of in- 
terpretation have been preserved. Each writer is a spe- 
ciahst in the particular area of the history with which he 
deals, and thus the dependability of the entire picture has 
been insured. Yet consultation and collaboration have 
been so effectively maintained that the structural unity of 
the story has not been sacrificed. The casual reader will 
be unaware of the variety in authorship as he easily passes 
fi-om one section to another of the book. It is true that 
some of the writers speak of the history of the "church," 
as though it were coterminous with the history of Chris- 
tianity, when one ought rather to speak of the history of 
the churches. But perhaps this is a not unnatural hang- 
over from traditional phraseology, and one who reads this 
book will quickly become aware of the fact that the Chris- 
tian movement has produced different churches, different 
creeds, and various rituals as the formal developments of 
the movement have taken shape at successive periods and 
under diverse circumstances. 

This book should serve a very useful purpose. Any 
thoughtful person who wishes to make himself intelligent 
about the way m which Christianity has come to be what 
it is today could find no better introduction to the subject. 
It is well suited to the needs of adult classes in the church 
scliool, and it is an excellent handbook for use in college 
classes. Even students in the theological seminaries might 
profitably read it as a preparation for their further study 
in greater detail of selected areas of Christian history. 

Religion Yesterday and Today. By Henry Sloan Coffin. 
Nashxille: Cokesbury Press, 1940. 1S3 pages. SI. 75. 

President Coffin, of Union Theological Seminary in 
.\ew York, is peculiarly well fitted to survey the changes 


in thinking and interest that have marked the history of 
American Protestantism during the last fifty years. At 
the beginning of this period there was a general feeling of 
security in religious circles. But during the last half-cen- 
tury many things have happened to disturb this peace of 
mind. The present volume of lectures, given at New York 
University in the autumn of 1939 and at Emory University 
early in 1940, undertakes to analyze these new forces and 
to appraise their results for present-day Christianity. 

The first lecture deals with evolutionary science as it 
has compelled changes in religious thought. Note is taken, 
not only of the adjustments that have been necessitated 
in Christian faith, but also of the moi-al advance involved 
in the change. Doubt is cast upon the notion of automatic 
progress in religion that at first attended the adoption of 
the evolutionary idea. Without denying the legitimacy of 
belief in evolution, the author insists upon the necessity of 
stressing dependence upon God as the only ultimate source 
of power to redeem the evolving social order. 

The second lecture centers upon the idea of God spon- 
soi'ed by the once popular doctrine of divine imminence. 
Faith in a God who pervades the universe is not to be re- 
jected, but the degree to which modern society is afflicted 
by evils casts doubt upon optimistic confidence in the self- 
redemption of the world by means of the automatic opera- 
tion of an inherent divine energy. Faith in God as a power 
beyond nature is needed to supplement the notion of a self- 
sufficing civilization. 

The topic of the third lecture is Biblical Criticism. The 
literalist view of an inerrant Bible is no longer tenable. 
But where this skepticism is pushed to extremes it is 
thought to have had an unhappy result in undermining 
confidence in the new revelation brought into the world 
by Jesus. Dr. Coffin reaffirms that God's revelation of 
himself in Christ is the permanent and final disclosure of 
Deity to the human race. 


Another new phase of Christian emphasis, discussed in 
the fourth lecture, is called religious experience. In the 
nineties of the last century the assurance attained by per- 
sonal religious experience began to take the place of the 
older confidence in an inerrant Bible. More recent studies 
in psychology have now invaded this area of interest and 
have tended in some quarters towards a pure humanism. 
The rights of psychological research are recognized but a 
sharp distinction, so we are told, should be made between 
the religious experience of the regenerate man and that of 
one who has never truly surrendered himself to God. 

A half a century ago American Christianity began to ac- 
quire a pronounced social consciousness. This furnishes the 
theme for the fifth lecture. The author insists that the 
Christian religion should be vitally concerned with social 
problems, but a social gospel alone is not equal to the task 
of man's redemption. Democracy must have a truly spirit- 
ual foundation based not only upon faith in the capacities 
of the common man but more especially upon faith in a 
God who is beyond as well as within human history. His 
will, revealed in Christ, men ought to strive to realize on 
the mundane level, but they should also be aware of t?ie 
fact that its complete realization lies beyond history. 

The final lecture, on the church, seeks to appraise the 
significance of this institution and its various activities. 
Its former emphasis upon individual and local matters 
should be enlarged to serve ecumenical interests. But it 
must not lose sight of its divine mission as the possessor 
of the Christian heritage and the medium through which 
the living God makes his will known to the world. For 
the church to adopt a defensive policy spells disaster. It 
is her mission to be an aggressive agency for bringing the 
whole world under the mind of Christ. 

The content of this book is often liberalizing in tone. Yet 
the author is not so far in advance of traditional modes 
of thought that his message will seem unintelligible to the 
conservative mind. The roots of his own thinking sink 


deep into the soil of the theological past, but the foliage 
and fruit of the tree have become well acclimated to the 
chilling breezes that invade the modern world. 

The Faith We Live. By Albert Edward Day. Nashville: 
Cokesbury Press, 1940. 256 pages. $2.00. 

The problem of personal religious living is the central 
theme of this volume. And, generally speaking, one feels 
that the author has had in view mainly mentally sick in- 
dividuals rather than healthy-minded religious people. He 
writes, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 
Unless this controlling purpose is kept in mind one might 
infer that Christianity is chiefly a device for warding off 
incipient insanity. Religion is viewed psychologically and 
faith is understood to be that state of mind which one 
seeks to cultivate in dealing with the various problems of 

The principal concern of the book is with the practice 
of faith, but Part I briefly expounds the idea of God as 
the proper object of faith. But even here the emphasis 
is experimental rather than speculative. The Bible is the 
initial source for a knowledge of God. Its revelation is 
indispensable and inexhaustible, but it is not the only chan- 
nel by which God reveals himself to mankind. While the 
Deity is so far above the human level that he is ever a 
stranger to man and ever remains the inexorable judge of 
moral delinquency in a universe pervaded by law, he is ever 
seeking to help mortals in their struggle toward the higher 
life. He is man's judge but he is also man's ally. 

Faith is the instrument by which man can lay hold 
upon God. This topic is developed in Part II, which con- 
stitutes the main body of the book. The manner in which 
faith operates and the different areas of life in which it 
may be practiced are then explored in some detail. The 
exposition is sermonic in tone and aims at practical re- 
sults. Faith is considered in relation to the deeper self, to 


health, to money, to human relations, and to sin. The 
author is thoroughly familiar with the findings of modern 
psychology and seeks to show how faith can become the 
solvent for the troubles that agitate distressed minds. He 
is less concerned with the relation of faith to the healthy 
intelligence of the educated person who insists that reli- 
gion must be reasonable and conform to every ray of 
light that education and research may discover. Yet the 
author is no obscurantist. He would not for an instant 
have any man stultify intelligence in the name of true re- 
ligion. Rather, he strives to penetrate those farther reaches 
of the human spirit where knowledge as yet sheds only a 
dim ray of light, or leaves one in impenetrable darkness. 
Faith supplements but does not negate intelligence. It is a 
venture into the unknown but may be risked with confi- 
dence by the religious individual. As a matter of course, 
it must proceed upon presuppositions, the validity of which 
can be verified only by the experience of living. This is 
essentially a pragmatic test. Life exhibits a common hu- 
man yearning after God in spite of the diverse ways in 
w^hich he has been conceived, but that yearning is always 
contributory to a better life. One trusts the universe, which 
is implicitly the exercise of faith in God. Intelligence aids 
rather than retards the quest for the larger good toward 
the attainment of which faith demands commitment. Ul- 
timately, faith means an affirmation of God's goodness, a 
belief in his availability for men amid all of their difficul- 
ties and confidence in God's eagerness to operate in all the 
areas of human life. 

Readers are challenged to venture upon this highway 
of faith. Whether or not they accept the challenge, they 
can not fail to be the better for pursuing these stimulating 


Can Religious Education Be Christian? By Harrison 
S. Elliott. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 
338 pages. $2.50. 

Religious education is a comparatively new term in the 
gamut of technical phrases that have been devised to de- 
scribe standardized forms of Christian activity and inter- 
est. Fifty years ago religious education was scarcely 
known by that particular name. In the meantime it has 
become a distinctive discipline practiced in the churches 
and taught in most of the theological seminaries. A great 
deal of attention has been devoted to the formulation of 
programs by which this new interest can be put into effec- 
tive operation, but all too rarely have attempts been made 
to interpret the meaning and purpose of the enterprise or 
to define its essential genius. Professor Elliot's book per- 
forms in a most excellent manner the task of interpreta- 
tion. It presents, not the program, but the philosophy of 
religious education. 

At the outset note is taken of the basic conflicts that 
exist in the educational work of the churches. On the one 
side, there is the notion that the fundamental aim is to 
impart information about the Bible and church doctrine, 
and thus to make the youth religious. Over against this 
procedure, the type of religious education presented in 
these pages assumes that religion is a product of experi- 
ence in living. Learning to live religiously is the basic 
problem, and it is from this setting that one will under- 
stand and evaluate the content of Biblical and doctrinal 
teachings handed down from the past. This educational 
theory implies a firm belief that men are able of them- 
selves to approach God effectively and direct their course 
of life in channels that are genuinely religious. Human 
initiative and effort are essential to worthy religious at- 
tainment, and it is the primary task of religious education 
to stimulate and direct this process of creative religious 


So forthright a statement of the nature and policy of 
the modern educational procedure in religion constitutes a 
sharp challenge to ways of thinking that have long pre- 
vailed in traditional Protestantism and that have been 
vigorously revived and advocated by many reactionary 
theologians in more recent times. Professor Elliott sees 
clearly and faces boldly this fundamental conflict. Not 
for a moment will he concede that a static Christian faith 
has been authoritatively revealed once and for all time at 
some specific moment in the past, not even in the Bible. 
Living people at different jjeriods of Christian history 
have formulated their beliefs in terms of their contem- 
porary experiences and ways of thinking, and thus have 
made valuable contributions to religion, but that fact does 
not relieve men of today from the ^necessity of repeating 
the task in terms of their own immediate experiences. 
Ideas about God and human nature, that portray Deity 
only in terms of transcendence and make man utterly in- 
capable of aggressive and creative religious living, are 
stoutly denied. Human self-assertion in the sphere of re- 
ligion is not rebellion against God, to be condemned as sin 
and guilt against the sovereignty of God, but is the divine- 
ly approved pathway to worthy religious attainments. One 
need not assume the absolute perfectibility of human na- 
ture to appreciate the significance of man's struggle to 
attain good and overcome evil. Nor is the educational 
process simply an individual affair, as though one person 
in isolation from his fellows could be told what he must 
believe or how he must act to be thoroughly religious. Liv- 
ing is a cooperative enterprise, and by the same token all 
vital religion must be socially conditioned. Even the at- 
tainment of Christlike character can never be successful 
as a strictly private enterprise in a world where our lives 
are inseparably interlocked with one another. What is 
right cannot to be determined by superimposing from with- 
out some absolute ideal allegedly derived from the Bible 
or from the teaching of Jesus. Any such super-impositions, 
if they are to have validity, must be subjected to the inter- 
pretation and evaluation of the persons by whom they are 


accepted. This means that the norms for Christian ethics 
must be generated within the religious living of people to- 
day before they can acquire real validity. Educational 
guidance in the concrete business of living is the only effec- 
tive way to validate a Christian ethic for modern times. 
Similarly, the attainment of religious experience, the prac- 
tice of prayer and participation in worship are not isolated 
phenomena but progressively realized acquisitions of actual 
living capable of enlarging significance under educational 

In two respects this volume is unusually timely and im- 
portant. First, it effectively denounces recent tendencies 
to relieve men of their responsibility as agents under God 
for creating a better world. In the second place, it clari- 
fies the atmosphere as to what the new discipline of re- 
ligious education actually means. Both of these tasks need- 
ed to be performed, and every reader will appreciate the 
masterly way in which Professor Elliott has done his work. 

A Faith To Affirm. By James Gordon Gilkey. New 

York : Macmillan Company, 1940. 170 pages. $1.75. 

This author undertakes to formulate a new creed for 
liberal Protestantism. He would discard numerous items 
in the older doctrines. He rejects the notion of literal 
Biblical inspiration. The supernatural birth of Jesus, be- 
lief in his power to work miracles, and the New Testament 
doctrine of his physical resurrection are thought to be no 
longer tenable. Likewise, the early Christian world-view, 
belief in the activity of demons, the expectation of an early 
end of the world, the notion that man is a sinner because 
of his heritage from Adam, the idea that God ai'bitrarily 
interferes in the affairs of the world, and the imagery 
of a localized heaven and hell, all have to be excluded from 
liberal theological thought. 

The positive aspects of the newer theology are also ex- 
plicitly defined. The liberal believes in the existence of an 
unseen God at the heart of things who loves men and ever 


seeks to give them his comradeship and help. His divine 
care surrounds them in this life and insures for them a 
blessed hereafter in which the inequalities and defeats of 
this life will be rectified. Sinners who die unrepentant 
will in the future be given new opportunities for better- 
ment. Jesus still lives as a truly spiritual, being and the 
moral and spiritual ideals that he taught while upon earth 
are the supreme revelation of God's will, while those ele- 
ments in his teaching that were colored by the limited no- 
tions of his age no longer have validity. New ways of 
thinking that have come into vogue since Jesus lived have 
to be added to those ideas of his that still have abiding 
validity in order to make up the sum-total of modern lib- 
eral doctrines. Christianity has now become a social gos- 
pel, it trains children to grow up in religion instead of 
leaving them in sin until they get converted in a revival, 
and it makes the religious life an experience of terrestrial 
communion with God to be consummated in eternity when 
all earthly limitations and obstacles will have been re- 

Whether one should call this program a new liberalism 
or a new dogmatism might be questioned. As here pre- 
sented the new doctrines seem to be as authoritatively con- 
ceived as were the older doctrines. Is not the very genius 
of liberalism violated by insisting upon any final affirma- 
tion of beliefs? Beliefs are temporary convictions sincere- 
ly arrived at in the light of one's knowledge and experience 
today, and as such they are not a faith "to affirm." They 
are only a spring-board from which to launch forth into 
new ways of thinking that may be necessitated by further 
knowledge and experience tomorrow. To set up any definite 
body of doctrines as a fixed creed true for all time to come 
is to lapse into the very attitude of authoritarianism that 
characterizes the conservatism from which the liberal 
seeks release. 


The Faith By Which The Church Lives. By Georgia 
Harkness. New York: The Abingdon Press, 1940. 161 
pages. $1.50. 

What is the church? There are Christian churches of 
many varieties, each capable of being described or defined 
in terms of its distinctive type of organization, ritual and 
dogma. But the "church" in the singular is a term that 
does not easily lend itself to exact definition. One may 
attempt to envisage it as an ideal under which all of the 
different churches may be grouped, a kind of invisible 
supra-mundane pattern inclusive of all varieties. Or one 
may seek to abstract from the complex picture some sort 
of unifying essence that is thought to pervade the whole. 
Or one may select some particular church, like the Roman 
Catholic, the Methodist, the Episcopal, etc., as the true type, 
in comparison with which all divergent forms are illegiti- 
mate expressions. Apparently, Professor Harkness in- 
clines toward the second of these procedures, but thought- 
ful readers of her book will regret that she has not been 
more explicit at this point in giving us an exact definition 
of her concept. And since she has chosen for her theme 
the faith by which "the church" lives, apparently she 
would frame her unifying definition in terms of a doctrinal 
essence found to be characteristic of all types. Dictinctive 
features of organization and ritual seem to rest very light- 
ly upon her consciousness. 

She draws the inspiration for her thinking from im- 
pressions received at conferences of Christian bodies held 
at Oxford, Madras, Amsterdam and Geneva. Out of this 
ecumenical atmosphere she endeavors to extract a working 
conception of a universal church. Then she proceeds to de- 
fine the type of faith that would underlie this hypothetical 
structure. Its authority is found to reside in the revela- 
tion that God has made of himself in Jesus Christ, although 
it is admitted that the inind of Christ is read differently 
by different Christian thinkeis today. This conception in- 


volves, further, faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, 
the supreme mediator of redemption. The ideal church 
can realize its mission only on the principles of democracy 
as applied in the sphere of religion, since the only truly 
constant element in Christian belief is the ideal of brother- 
ly love. Faith in humanity is a fundamental tenet of 
Christianity and the ultimate ground of this belief is con- 
fidence in the Fatherhood of God as repealed by Jesus. 

An ideal church supported by this skeletonized the- 
ological framework is a pleasant object for contemplation. 
But its establishment on the concrete plane of reality is a 
very different matter. Churches that actually exist derive 
their vitality from a wide range of beliefs and practices 
totally lacking in Professor Harkness' epitome of their 
faith. The hope of establishing Christian unity on some 
refined and unifying definition of faith offers little prom- 
ise of success. Might it not be wiser to attempt to unify 
the Christian enterprise on a program of cooperative ac- 
tion for the attainment of practical ends at the same time 
allowing the fullest measures of freedom for varying defi- 
nitions of doctrine and ritual? 

A genial atmosphere of toleration and understanding 
pervades the entire discussion. Some readers may think 
the author's theology is too conservative, others may think 
it too liberal ; but all will admire her sincerity and the skill 
with which she presents her convictions. The book exhales 
a sober but healthful optimism much needed in these times 
when our theologians so frequently dwell upon the futility 
of human endeavors to attain spiritual excellence. Pro- 
fessor Harkness believes religion to be a gift of God but 
she also reminds us that its realization in life must be a 
human attainment. Her book is both instructive and edify- 
ing and is phrased in language that every reader can easi- 
ly understand. 


Living Religions and a World Faith. By William E. 
Hocking. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 284 
pages. $2.50. 

The author of this volume, who is professor of philoso- 
phy at Harvard University, gave the Hibbert lectures at 
the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England in 
the year 193'8. These lectures have now taken the form 
of a book. Scholars have become accustomed to expect a 
very substantial piece of work from successive Hibbert 
lecturers, and the present series is no exception. The ordi- 
nary reader will find some difficulty in comprehending the 
philosopher's language and in following the intricacies of 
his close-knit thinking. A second or a third reading may 
be necessary for the undisciplined student, but the repeat- 
ed effort will be amply rewarding. The wide knowledge 
of the lecturer and the intensity of his thinking compel ad- 
miration and invite serious reflection. 

Really the book has a very simple theme. It analzyes 
the nature of the various religions that are current in the 
modern world, it critically evaluates the methods and aims 
of the present-day Christian missionary enterprise, and it 
proposes a course of procedure by which a world-faith for 
all mankind may be brought into being through a new con- 
ception of what Christianity^ ought to become. Every liv- 
ing religion is seen to embody within itself certain ele- 
ments of permanent value. The missionary must recognize 
and respect these items. He must not suppose that they are 
to be dismissed from his consideration. They must be con- 
served and made contributory to a growing Christianity 
that would serve the religious needs of all mankind. All 
religions, Christianity included, have their local and provin- 
cial features, and one is not to suppose that these limita- 
tions can be completely eliminated, but they can be sub- 
ordinated to the more universal and persistent interests of 
a world faith. Unity cannot be accomplished by the elimi- 


nation of variety and complexity that are integral to dif- 
ferent types of culture. But religious aims and thinking 
can rise above local and temporal variations to a larger 
comprehension of universal ideals and values which consti- 
tute the essence of all religion. 

Christianity, we are told, is not yet ready to serve as a 
world-religion. As it concretely exists today it is prone to 
indulge in harsh and ignorant criticism of other religions. 
It needs to learn that there are values in other religions 
that must not be allowed to perish. It must be purged of 
its provincialism. It must learn to solve more effectively 
than it has yet done the social problem of a modern day 
before it can successfully offer itself to the world as the 
panacea for all human ills. And it must learn to discount 
the notion that institutionalism of any specific type is an 
indispensable characteristic of genuine religion. Valuable 
as organization may be for the perpetuity of the religious 
movement, this aspect of Christianity is only one of its ex- 
ternals. But real Christianity is its potential or ideal self, 
and in its ideal character it is found to be the anticipation 
of the essence of all religion. Thus it contains potentially 
all that any religion has or needs. In this respect it is cap- 
able of becoming a world-faith, and Professor Hocking be- 
lieves that he can already perceive the coming of this di- 
vine event in the more or less distant future. 

One should note that the entire discussion is pervaded 
and substantiated b^' a definite philosophy of religion. Only 
those who accept this underlying philosophy will find the 
argument convincing or the conclusions tenable. Religion 
is conceived of in the idealistic way and its ultimate es- 
sence is a sober mysticism in which men realize communion 
with God. This is not merely the accomplishment of the 
individual mystic; it must be the attainment of men as so- 
cial beings. The truth which the mystic apprehends is not 
valid for him alone, but for all mankind. Thus the mystic 
needs the community and the community needs the mystic, 
if all men are to realize communion with the absolute and 
thereby attain to the farthest reaches of universality of 


which the race is capable. In their concrete forms religions 
may always remain local and particular, but over and above 
these features of particularity true religion will have a 
universal awareness of man's hold upon the absolute and 
eternal. And the outreach of all mankind toward this ob- 
ject of their quest insures the ultimate unity of all religion. 
Such is the philosophy of religion underlying Professor 
Hocking's significant book. 

The Social Gospel Re-E xamined. By F. Ernest Johnson, 
New York : Harper & Brothers, 1940. 256 pages. $2.00. 

Dr. Johnson is a most vigorous proponent of the srcial 
gospel. He continues to be a staunch religious activist, as 
every champion of a genuinely social gospel ought to be. 
He has not abandoned the thesis, so convincingly advocat- 
ed in his earlier book on The Church and Society, to the 
effect that "the church can alter the life of the world only 
as it embraces the world." But he takes full account of the 
criticisms that have been urged against this position by the 
vociferous champions of a new orthodoxy who magnify 
the inability of fallen human nature to make any signif- 
icant contribution toward the establishment of the King- 
dom of God on earth. They insist that this accomplishment 
must be purely a work of God himself; man is merely the 
recipient rather than an active agent in the process. 

The author is generously appreciative of the thinking of 
his critics. He admits that the social gospel has not al- 
ways concerned itself sufficiently with the foi-mulation of 
a supporting body of consistent theological thought. He 
concedes much to his opponents; some readers may think 
more than they deserve. But this willingness to undoi-- 
stand them, and to recognize valid elements in their posi- 
tion, adds a pleasantly irenic atmosphere to the entire book 
and eliminates any disposition to indulge in bitter polem- 
ics. The defects of the so-called '"liberal social Christian- 
ity" are freely admitted, while its more basal and essential 
features are restated not only in terms of practical pro- 



cedure but in the light of a justifying form of theological 
interpretation. An effort is made to lift the social gospel 
out of the category of mere secularism and to stress the 
note of personal and spiritual idealism by which it is in- 
formed and rendered a genuinely religious endeavor. 

The fundamental error of critics of the social gospel 
is found to be their metaphysical dualism that eliminates 
God from the process of history. Over against the idea 
that a Christian ethic is something imposed upon man from 
without, Dr. Johnson believes that it is an emergent qual- 
ity of life arrived at by the individual and the community 
ever striving to lay hold upon ideals and procedures stem- 
ming from the personality of Christ. However "fallen" 
man may be, he is not incapable of yielding allegiance to a 
great purpose which he feels, under divine guidance, is a 
commission to attempt to change the world. The church 
is a divine society, not let down by God from above, but 
rising from within human society as the corporate activity 
of men who are striving to make effective the redemptive 
love of Christ. Secular culture is not something to be 
shunned by Christians, but it should be vigorously invaded 
and gradually infused by religious ideals. In its attitude 
toward war, Christianity will ever aim at complete elimina- 
tion, but a truly social gospel cannot escape invoivemenr 
in the practical concerns of the political order, and actioa 
must be determined according to sincere convictions within 
specific situations. Democracy as an ideal is also an essen- 
tial item of Christian interest. This, too, needs to be re- 
deemed from secularism and infused with a spiritual ethic. 
It is the task of Christianity explicitly to express its mes- 
age in terms of human relationships within a democracy. 

This is one of the most suggestive and stimulating 
books recently to appear in the field of religion. It com- 
bines to an unusual degree serious thinking and practical 
urgency. In both of these respects it is designed to meet 
a vital need of the present day. 


How to Read the Bible, By Julian Price Love. New 
York: Macmillan Company, 1940. 204 pages. $2.00. 

This volume is packed with much sane advice for per- 
sons who desire to read the Bible witli profit and interest. 
Everyone ought to know, but perhaps only the few realize, 
that the Bible is a compilation of many books composed by 
different persons living in different situations and writing 
at different times over a period of approximately a thou- 
sand years. To attempt to read this varied literature as 
though it were all of one piece, and the product of one 
mind with a unified purpose and interest, is manifestly er- 
roneous. Yet how can the ordinary person learn how to 
read it in any other way? Professor Love has tried to 
answer this question. 

The central thesis of the book is that the Bible should 
be read **by units of thought" ; that means a consecutive 
reading of such portions, long or short, as pursue one topic 
or line of thought to a conclusion. And these units should 
be read at one sitting if possible, for only by such concen- 
tration of attention can the meaning be fully grasped. Thus 
chapters five to seven of Matthew should be read as a unit, 
, also the ninth to the eleventh chapters of Romans, the thir- 
teenth to sixteenth chapters of Judges, and so on through- 
out the whole Bible. One of the chief impediments to this 
procedure is the chapter and verse divisions that have been 
arbitrarily introduced into the text of our Bibles, and a 
type of printing that eliminates these disruptive divisions, 
or relegates them inconspicuously to the margin, ought to 
be used by the reader. Story units of various types may 
be distinguished — units of characters, of occasions, of pro- 
phetic visions, of problems, and of teaching. It will also 
be helpful to note units that exhibit a single mood or range 
of human feeling, like psalms of adoration, meditation, 
trust, complaint, petition, penitence, thanksgiving, and 
so forth, and to read consecutively examples of each type. 
Still another recommended procedure is to read as a unit 
a combination of books that deal with the same type of 


theme, like Joshua and Judges on the settlement in Canaan, 
or Haggai and Zechariah on the rebuilding of the temple, 
of I Timothy and Titus on church organization, or even 
two books from both testaments, such as Hosea and the 
Gospel of John for their emphasis on the love of God. 

Chapters seven and eight of this volume present in de- 
tail a classification of both the Old and the New Testament 
according to a proposed scheme of reading by units embrac- 
ing the entire content of the Bible. Anyone who has the 
diligence to follow this outline would unquestionably ac- 
quire a new interest in reading the Bible and vv'ould obtain 
a familiarity with its contents such as few people today 
possess. The program deserves hearty commendation. 

There is another approach to intelligent Bible reading 
that may be mentioned in this connection, although it finds 
no fundamental place in Professor Love's program.' It iJ 
what might be called the historical approach. Its first 
mandate is that the reader should acquaint himself with 
the situation in which a Biblical writer lived and read his 
composition in the light of the problems and interests that 
were vital in the ancient setting. Thus one can at the out- 
set sympathetically appreciate the Biblical writer's state of 
mind, visualize his specific problems, and appreciate his 
spirit and motives more realistically than is possible by a 
reading that takes no account of concrete historical situa- 
tions. Yet one who approaches the Bible without this his- 
torical equipment, as readers are advised to do by this 
book, may soon find themselves lured on to a quest for full- 
er historical knowledge of the origins of the literature. Cer- 
tainly the program here suggested need be no impediment 
to further inquiry in the field of historical origins. 

The Search for the Real Jesus: A Century of Historical 
Study. By Chester Charlton McCown, New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1940. 338 pages. $2.50. 

Jesus was crucified about the year 30 A. D. The gospel 
accounts of his life and teaching were written between the 


years 70 and 100 A. D. Hence a period of forty years 
elapsed between the death of Jesus and the writing of the 
oldest gospel. In the interim C'hi'istianity had spread from 
Palestine to gentile lands, the language of the movement 
had changed from the Aramaic tongue spoken by Jesus 
and his disciples to Greek in which the gospels were writ- 
ten, and the missionaries were citing words and deeds of 
Jesus as a means of winning converts to their faith. Piut 
Jesus had been dead for forty years, and one may question 
whether the latei" generation who composed the gospels still 
had accurate information about the events that had hap- 
pened so long ago. Also the type of information needed by 
them in their Greek environment to make their preaching 
effective among gentiles must have affected their choice of 
material, if indeed it did not fire their pious imagination to 
invent as probable stories to suit their pedagogical aims. 
Then there are the striking differences in the content and 
order of events narrated in the several gospels, all of 
which suggests that each author had to exercise a good 
deal of originality in producing his narrative. Thus the 
gospels give us different pictures of Jesus and one is im- 
pelled to ask which representation is correct, or whether 
in fact all of them may not embody imaginary items de- 
rived from the fertile imaginations of the Christian 
preachers who had been active in the missionary propa- 
ganda during the four decades that had intervened between 
the death of Jesus and the composition of the first written 

For over a hundred years scholars have been working 
at the problem of recovering what they believe to be the 
real Jesus of history, as distinguished from the idealized 
pictures of him now presented in the four New Testament 
gospels. In the summer of the year 1835 a German theo- 
logian published the first volume of a work entitled The 
Life of Jesus Critically Examined in which he questioned 
the reliability of many features in the gospels and endeav- 
ored to reconstruct another pictui'e of Jesus more strictly 
in accord with historical fact. The work created a great 


furor not only in Germany but in other countries. The 
author had practically no following, but he opened up a 
field of inquiry that has engaged the attention of succes- 
sive generations of students ever since that day. Scholars 
are still at work upon the problem of recovering the real 
Jesus in contrast with the variant portraits of him present- 
ed to us in the several gospels. 

Professor McCown has laboriously combed the litera- 
ture of the last century dealing with this subject particu- 
larly in German, French and English. In the present 
volume he gives us a condensed record of his findings and 
an interpretation of the conditions and causes that have 
led scholars to deduce different conclusions. The book is 
packed with information and insights that invite careful 
and reflective reading. One unfamiliar with the subject 
will not find it easy reading. That will not be because of 
any lack of clarity or directness in the author's language. 
On the contrary, he has the happy faculty of writing lum- 
inously about even the most recondite matters. But the 
subject was exceedingly intricate and required for its treat- 
ment an accuracy in details that no careless reader can 
appreciate. But anyone who will pursue these pages 
studiously will find his efforts amply rewarded. He will 
gain an insight into the intricacies of modern gospel study, 
he will learn why it is that people have held so many dif- 
ferent types of opinion about Jesus, his view of modern 
problems will be steadied by the light of historical per- 
spective, and he will find himself faced by the necessity of 
re-examining many customary ways of thinking about Jesus 
that will no longer seem worthy of the subject when the 
informative and suggestive content of this volume has been 

Is God Emeritus? By Shailer Mathews. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1940. 83 pages. $1.50. 

This is a meaty little book whose pages bristle with 
striking phrases, characteristic of Dean Mathew's literary 


style. But beneath these smooth-running sentences there 
is a depth of strenuous thinking. The two poles about 
which thought revolves are God and the cosmos. 

The traditional view of God, as a great king who pre- 
sides over the world and man, is believed to be no longer 
adequate. It was a type of imagery natural to a monarch- 
ically oi-ganized social order that is now quite out of 
date. In rejecting this thought-pattern it has sometimes 
been supposed that God himself has retired from the uni- 
verse, has become emerifus!. Dean Mathews vigorously op- 
poses this conclusion and seeks to set up another pattern 
of thinking by which God can be given a central place in 
the social and cosmic experience of mankind. 

In order to appreciate the full significance of this new 
^.j)proach to the problem of theism, one ought to note the 
contrast in method between this way of dealing with the 
issue and that commonly in vogue among the theologians 
of the past. Formerly it has been customary first to de- 
fine the nature of God and then to make religious thinking 
conform to the given definition. Dean Mathews reverses 
this process. He recognizes that men first live and then 
formulate their doctrines on the basis of their experiences. 
Thus it has come about that persons belonging to a mo- 
narchically organized social order defined God in terms of 
kingship. But in the new social order of today a vital type 
of theistic thinking needs to be framed in thought-patterns 
that correspond to the realities of modern social experi- 
ence. The intelligent man today lives in a new universe. 
It is a vast cosmic process in which personality emerges as 
the climactic fact in the evolution of the world and man. 
Ultimately it is not mere mechanism, but is a personality- 
producing activity. And God becomes the symbol of the 
activities of the cosmos as they are experienced individual- 
ly and socially by mankind. Thus religious living becomes 
a reciprocal adjustment between human persons and the 
divine cosmic activity. It is an experience of God in whom 
we live and move and have our being. The relation is a 
genuinely personal one. Its values are primarily matters 


of experience and theological patterns of thought are only 
temporary devices for making convictions concrete and 
communicable in terms of successive stages of human cul- 

If we repeat this procedure in terms of our miodern cul- 
ture the forms of the older theistic dogmas will have to be 
discarded, but the raw materials, so to speak, out of which 
theistic beliefs are made will still endure. They merely 
have to be rephrased in terms of modern experience and in- 
telligence. God is still the sjTnbol for the personality- 
producing activities of the cosmos, operating within in- 
stead of above the process. He is the God of love as well 
as of law. He insures the superiority of personal values 
over all other values. He inspires the democratic ideal of 
goodwill and scientific technique in realizing a higher stage 
of social evolution and reinforces the supreme value of hu- 
man personality. Confidence in the value of personality 
constitutes the strongest ground for belief in immortality. 
Therefore God has not yet become emeritus. 

The Ways of Things. By William Pepperell Montague. 
New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1940. 712 pages. $3.00. 

One glance at the title of this volume will indicate the 
scope of its subject matter. What things and their mani- 
festations can escape the meaning of "the ways of things"? 
But clearly, though the scope may be exhaustive, the an- 
alysis of it need not be, and in all probability cannot be. 
Yet, who would not agree with Professor Montague that 
the Socratic faith is valid. As the author puts it: "Any- 
one who regards himself as a rational being is under a 
sacred obligation to submit his beliefs about nature and 
human duty to a critical examination, and, in the light of 
all the evidence available, work out, however tentatively, 
a philosophy of thought and action." Professor Montague 
is a living example of this faith, and in the present volume 
he gives a summary or outline of his general conclusions. A 
more minute analysis is given in his earlier v.-orks. Thus, 


the present work is a sort of introduction to philosophy 
as seen through the eyes of a mature contemporary think- 
er, who wishes, not only to give the reader a glance at the 
author's own views, but to arouse the reader to play the 
I'ole of philosopher as well. 

The volume is divided into two main parts. The first 
is concerned with the whole field of philosophy, and pre- 
sents the major ideas and problems of the field in a sum- 
mary and elementary fashion with some indications as to 
the solution of the major difficulties. The second part 
consists of a selected collection of the author's previous es- 
says which are valuable examples or illustrations of the 
more general arguments given in Part I. The first part 
is, therefore, more introductory and objective than the sec- 
ond, while the second is more advanced and representative 
of Professor Montague's own philosophy. The same sub- 
ject matter is treated, then, in both divisions but from dif- 
ferent points of view and for different reasons. This com- 
mon subject matter is further analyzed into eight divisions 
which comprise the various fields of philosophy. For Mon- 
tague they are: Formal Logic, Material Logic, Epistem- 
ology. Metaphysics of the Macrocosm, Metaphysics of the 
Microcosm, Theology, Esthetics, and Ethics. These are 
treated in the order given, with each major division apply- 
ing its own proper method. 

A book, such as the pi'esent one, will be of great value 
to a large class of readers. For those interested primarily 
in the field of religion its value should be very great. This 
IS true not only because of the intimate relationship which 
prevails between philosophy and religion, but more especi- 
ally because of the way in which Professor Montague treats 
of some special topics of religion in the present work. Of 
particular value is an essay in Part II bearing the title, 
"The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche," in which a bril- 
liant comparison is made of the strong points in the phi- 
losophy of Nietzsche with the strong points and weak 
points of the Christian philosophy. The essay entitled, 
"The Promethean Challenge to Religion" deserves special 


mention. In this a plea is made for a new orientation in 
religion which will combine the life-affirming quality of 
the views of the opponents of the church with a belief in 
God. In other essays Montague defends a trinitarian the- 
ory of the world-'ground, the possibility of personal im- 
mortality of the soul, and the attempt to reconcile the idea 
of a God limited in power with the idea of a God infinite 
and all-embracing. In these, however, he opposes the 
Christian theory of the origin of evil with an original the- 
ory of his own. 

Professor Montague refers to his own system of phil- 
osophy by the phrase, "animistic materialism." He con- 
tends that it rests upon three postulates: 1. That con- 
sciousness is neither separate from material motion nor an 
aspect of it, but is a high and special form of the same 
energy which manifests itself in matter and life. 2. That 
nature is not only running down but also running up, and, 
in its long ascent from protons and electrons to the souls 
within our brains, displays the same strange type of power 
that^we experience as mind. 3. That, therefore, there is 
more than mere analogy between what is highest in our 
inner selves and deepest in reality. These are weighty and 
highly significant concepts. As a means of seeing them 
unfold and come to life the present volume should be read. 

A. R. Turquette. 

What We Mean By Religion. By Williard L. Sperry. 
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1940. 171 pages. $1.75. 

This is the first volume in the series of lectures on re- 
ligion to be given annually at Florida Southern College. 
They supplement the regular classroom instruction in the 
subject and emphasize the purpose of the college to make 
religion an essential element in a liberal education. Having 
teen thus designed for a general audience, in printed form 
they are extremely readable. They contain clear thinking 
upon questions of vital importance to every intelligently 
religious person. An outline of the content of the several 


lectures, which were delivered before the student body of 
the college on March 14-19, 1940, was printed in the May 
issue of Religion in the Makinfj, pages 85-10^'. But no 
summary can take the place of a book whose every page 
is luminously thoughtful and charmingly phrased. 

Dean Spei'i-y believes relip^ion to be, al)ove, all else a 
mattei' of man's relation to God. This means a sense of 
"neighborliness" with the universe as well as with one's 
fellow-men. The religious person maintains a "thought- 
ful relation" to the process underlying the totality of 
events both in the universe and in the world of human I'e- 
lations. Religion is, one might say, a mystical type of ex- 
perience brought down to the level of our conciv;e daily 
living. Faith, then, is man's response to this ultimate 
cosmic reality; it is our part in maintaining this high 
friendship. Inevitably, doubts and uncertainties will often 
enter into the picture, but faith will enable us confidently 
to transcend these barriers to vision and lay hold upon 
the deeper realities of religious experience. Prayer is es- 
sentially the human act by which man makes real his sense 
of communion with God; it is the steady endeavor to think 
God's thoughts after him and with him. Whether specific 
prayers remain unanswered or not is quite incidental to 
the more essential matter of striving to maintain continu- 
ously the quest for a life of divine fellowship. Religion 
must also be a force in determining the motives and ends 
of conduct; it cannot ignore morals. The Christian pat- 
tern of life, although it has never yet been perfectly real- 
ized, still remains the high goal of worthy attainment. 
Every Christian must continue to hold to this ideal in good 
conscience. Religion, faith, prayer and morals all ulti- 
mately revert to the problem of God. The different ways 
in which he has been conceived throughout the course of 
history have not yet exhausted the subject. It has to be 
re-thought afresh in every age. Every new attainment 
in knowledge helps to interpret and mature oui" concep- 
tions of God. Knowledge of him is a never ceasing quest 
— the highest and noblest quest of the human spirit. 


The pertinence of this book to the needs of college men 
and women is self-evident. But it will meet the needs of a 
much wider audience. No one can turn from the reading 
of these pages without a sense of real spiritual uplift. The 
author gives unyielding allegiance to the ideals of a thor- 
oughly intelligent approach to religion, but does not lose in 
the process the sense of reality and value inherent in all 
genuinely religious thinking and living. 

The Creed of Christ. By Gerald Heard. New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1940. 169 pages. $2.00. 

A more appropriate title for this book would have been 
"The Creed of Gerald Heard Superimposed Upon Christ." 
Readers familiar with the author's philosophy as set forth 
in his earlier writings will be interested to note how he 
now attempts to make it appear that his way of thinking 
is exactly that of Jesus as expressed in the phrases of the 
Lord's Prayer. 

The main thesis of Heard's philosophy is that the high- 
est level of human attainment is a mystical communion 
with Reality (it must be spelled with a capital "R"). This 
cannot be attained by conscious effort ; it might almost be 
said that one must * 'swoon" into it. The concrete efforts 
of man to construct an orderly civilization are all a great 
mistake. Individualism is the unpardonable sin because 
it prevents the self from losing itself in the subconscious 
life of union with the complete extra-individuality that 
alone is Reality. Truth can be glimpsed only by those who 
attain this experience of utter selfless communion that 
links them with true but impersonal Being in the subcon- 
scious realm. This is the ladder to perfection. Historians 
of thought will recognize here an attempt to modernize 
the philosophy of Plotinus. 

There are many stimulating things in the book. Its 
criticisms of the weaknesses of modern civilization are in- 
cisive and stinging. And the evangelistic zeal with which 


it insists upon the need of cultivating more thoroughly the 
spiritual realities of life is appealing. But its thesis that the 
evils of existence are to be overcome by escape from con- 
crete activities into a subconscious mysticism, and its as- 
sumption that the several phrases in the Lord's Prayer ar^ 
the rungs by which to ascend this ladder of perfection, will 
hardly carry conviction. 

The Social Function of Religion. By E. 0. James. Nash- 
ville: Cokesbury Press, 1940. 312 pages. $2.50. 

Here an anthropologist deals with the causes and re- 
sults of the religious manifestations of mankind. The vol- 
ume is essentially an interpretation of the integrating func- 
tion of religion. The underlying assumption of the author 
is that the rites of religion served primarily as a means of 
consolidating the social unity of the primitive group and 
that the modern breakdown of society is due to failure to 
capitalize on religion's socializing value. Most of the book 
is demonstrating that religion has been the dynamic and 
consolidating force of society supplying a system of values 
reflecting the revelation of the spiritual and moral order 
upon which a sound social life has been maintained. At- 
tention is called to the fact that the newer totalitarian gov- 
ernments have made capital out of some of these values 
that the older states have forgotten. The totalitarian states, 
it is asserted, have discovered wherein lay the great 
strength of mythologies, eschatologies and devotion to a 
leader raised to quasi-divine status, they have virtually 
re-created a social order on a "religious" basis and if the 
resultant product has within it the seeds of its own de- 
struction, it is only because they have adopted a false dia- 
lectic, an erroneous interpretation of history and a pervert- 
ed standard of value. It is to plead for a better under- 
standing of these religious bases of society and to prevent 
such a widespread perversion as the totalitarian govern- 
ments encourage that this book is published. 


The Social Function of Religion, an excellent work of 
condensation, brings together what the author considers 
to be the essential and basic religious evaluations which 
have supplied the consolidating principle for the social 
structure of mankind — the fundamental religious concepts 
which once supplied the dynamic for man's communal life. 
Each of the first seven chapters — Providence, Myth and 
Revelation, Ritual and Worship, Ethics and Conduct, Mar- 
riage and the Family, The Nation and Nationalism — sup- 
plies the reader with historical perspective and an illumi- 
nating and interpretative statement of the happenings of 
the hour in the light of this historical background. The 
final chapter — Religion and the Modern World — is a per- 
tinent discussion of the place of religion in human society 
at the present critical juncture in world affairs. Because 
Professor James feels that the age of liberalism and in- 
dividualism has passed, he asserts that if religion is to 
make its life explicit amid all the currents and cross-cur- 
rents of the modern world, it will have to function in the 
immediate future in an environment more like that in 
which it arose than that to which in recent years it has 
become accustomed. In Christianity the author finds the 
religious values upon which social life has been based and 
consolidated attaining their fullest expression, but he 
points out that Christianity must be careful not to follow 
the example of the totalitarian states in the creation of an 
intellectually untenable mythology. 

This is the sixth volume of "The London Theological Li- 
brary." E. 0. James, the author, is one of the leading liv- 
ing anthropologists of the English-speaking world and the 
Professor of the History and the Philosophy of Religion in 
the University of Leeds. 

Not Alone. By Joseph R. Sizoo. New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1940. 99 pages. $1.25. 

Encased in a red, white and blue jacket, with an out- 
line map of the United States its most conspicuous feature, 
this solid little volume of essays makes its appearance. 


Many of the essays were undoubtedly used by the aut\or 
in his pulpit at the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, in 
New York City. 

The volume takes its name from the title of the first 
essay, "We Are Not Alone." The thesis of this first essay 
is that this confused age needs God at its center and the 
reason he is not there is because of a lack of faith. Several 
sentences will illustrate his thesis. "The only adequate 
gospel for a confused age which seeks to fight its way out 
of the mire is one which puts God back at the center of liv- 
ing.. . . The moment a nation ceases to rest heavily upon 
God, it turns the hands of the clock back to savagery. 
Nearly all the ills of our contemporary life spring from 
one simple fact: it is the feeling that something has been 
left out, and that something is faith." 

No single theme runs throughout the book and many of 
the chapters have no direct relationship with the title es- 
say. However, many fundamental issues are treated in 
a simple and forceful manner. Among the thirteen titles 
are these : "The Casualties of Impatience," "The Weakness 
of Strength," "Building on Risks," and "Hope of the 

Quite readable and timely, this volume is much superior 
to the average collection of sermons. It will prove inspir- 
ing to the layman and stimulating to the sermonizing min- 

Florida Southern 

Lakeland, Florida 

Co-Educational -:- Founded 1885 

The College 
In a Grove 
On a Hill 

Beside a Lake 
In a City 

The college is the only one in the United States which has a 
citrus grove for its campus. This 62-acre tract extends along a slope 
overlooking Lake Hollingsworth and is well within the municipal 
limits of Lakeland. 

With an enrollment of over 900 students and a staff of 72 
faculty members, the school offers courses in 33 departments of in- 
struction leading to A.B. and B.S. degrees and L.L certificates. 

The institution is a member of the Southern Association of 
Colleges and Secondary Schools, an affiliation that guarantees full 
recognition of credits by standard institutions of learning every- 

Eighty-five percent of the student body participates in the broad 
intramural program. Each student has a wide range of other extra- 
curricular activities to supplement his class work. Dramatics, stu- 
dent publications, debating, glee club, orchestra and mixed chorus 
are just a few of them. Numerous clubs are active in other fields 
of interest. Several fraternities and sororities, as well as campui 
groups, add to the social life. 

Drawing students from over 26 states and 12 church denomina- 
tions, the college offers students stimulation and unlimited pleasure 
from the friendships made on the campus. 

For specific information concerning the faculty, courses, general 
regulations, expenses^ requirements for degrees and other matters, 
send for a catalog, addressing requests to 

Florida Southern College 

Lakeland, Florida 

Subscription Blank 

Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 
Florida School of Religion 
Lakeland, Florida 

Please enter my subscription to Religion in the Making 
for which I inclose the sum of $2.00. (Remit by Check, or 
Post Office Order, made payable to the Florida School of 



filAllES T. rififf, Jl. 



In The Making 


JANUARY, 1941 

No. 3 


By William, Henry Bernhardt 


By Harold Bosley 


By C. C. McCown 


By Conrad Henry Moehlman 


By Corwin C. Roach 




Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 

Religion in the Making is published four times a year, 
in May, November, January, and March. It is sponsored 
by the Florida School of Religion and edited by the dean 
of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, or sixty cents 
per single issue. Remittances should be made by postal or 
express money orders or by check and made payable to 
the Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business correspondence, 
manuscripts, exchanges, and books submitted for review, 
should be addressed to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, 
Florida School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, four times 
a year. May 15, Novernber 15, January 15, and March 
15. Entered as second-class matter June 5, 1940, at the 
post office at Lakeland, Florida, under the Act of March 
3, 1879. 




By William Henry Bernhardt 


By Harold Bosley 


By C. C. MeCown 


By Conrad Henry Moehlrrum 



By Corwin C. Roach 


A Letter from China 839 

Lectures by Dean Case 345 

Lectures by Bishop Oxnam 360 


Nels Anderson, Men on the Move 368 

Charles A. Ellwood, The World's Need of Christ ... 369 

Ephraim Emerton, The Letters of Saint Boniface . . . 372 

Half ord E. Luccock, American Mirror 378 

RoUo May, The Springs of Creative Living 876 

James Moffatt, Jesus Christ The Same 878 

Alfred L. Murray, Reaching the Unchurched 880 

Martin P. Nilsson, Greek Popular Religion 381 

Thomas T. McAvoy, The Catholic Church 

in Indiana 383 

Powhatan James, George W. Truett : A Biography . . 385 

flornell Hart, Chart for Happiness 386 



William Henry Bernhardt is Professor of Christian 
Theology in the Iliff School of Theology in Denver Colo- 
rado. By his wide reading and scholarly research he is 
especially equipped to interpret the aspect of modem 
religious thinking discussed in his article. From time to 
time he has written for other religious periodicals and 
is one of the recognized leaders in present-day theologi- 
cal thinking. He holds a Ph. D. degree from the Univer- 
sity of Chicago. 

Harold Bosley is one of the younger scholarly min- 
isters of the Methodist Church who is rapidly winning a 
place of leadership in the theological world. He has been 
a contributor to the Christian Century and other jour- 
nals, and his recent book, The Quest for Religious Cer^ 
tainty, has received wide and favorable notice. His suno- 
mary and evaluation of modern opinion about revelation 
is peculiarly pertinent to present-day thinking. He is a 
Ph. D. of the University of Chicago. 

C. C. McCown already has an international reputation 
as a New Testament scholar and has been Professor of 
New Testament Literature and Interpretation in the 
Pacific School of Religion since 1914. He also served as 
Dean of the school from 1928 to 1936. For four years he 
was Principal of the American Methodist Institution in 
Calcutta, India, and he has spent much time in arche- 
ological research in Palestine. He is the author of many 
scientific articles on religious subjects and has written 
several books, of which the most recent was The Search 
for the Real Jesus reveiewed in the last issue of this jour- 
nal. His present article is a fitting supplement to this 
volume. He holds higher degrees from the University of 
Chicago and Garrett Biblical Institute. 

Conrad Henry Moehlman is one of the best known 
church historians in America. Since 1907 he has been a 
professor in the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and 
in 1928 succeeded the late Walter Rauschenbusch as Pro- 
fessor of the History of Christianity in that school. He 

is a prolific author of articles and books. His volume on 
Protestantism's Challenge was reviewed in Religion in the 
Making for May, 1940. He received the degree of Ph. D. 
from the University of Michigan and has been honored 
with a D. D. by Hillsdale College and the University of 

Corwin C. Roach, who holds a Ph. D. from Yale, is 
Professor of Old Testament at Bexley Hall, a Protestant 
Episcopal school at Gambler, Ohio. He is Acting Dean of 
the school, and his lively discussion of "Prophet versus 
Priest" will, we are sure, make our readers eager to read 
further contributions from his pen. 


By Willimn Henr-y Bernhardt 
The Iliff School of Theology 
Denver, Colorado 

Religion, as a form of individual and group behavior, 
takes its form and function from the situations in which 
it emerged and those in which it develops. This does not 
mean that it is like a chameleon with no color of its own. 
It merely means that local institutions are responses 
to changes in the nature of these needs. Furthermore, 
while religious institutions are shaped by given situations 
they also help produce the situations which change them. 
One may speak of religion as a cooperative product of the 
situations which give it its function and forms. It is 
shaped, in part, by the situations which it helped to pro- 

This means that significant reorganizations in the total 
world situation, or significant aspects of it, will have defi- 
nite consequences for the character of contemporary re- 
ligion. So long as the general structure of society and the 
prevailing world-views maintain themselves, there is little 
need seriously to rethink any given phase of culture. The 
task, then, is that of refining and perfecting the several 
methods of institutional expression of the human spirit. 
When a serious revision in social structure or in prevail- 
ing world views occurs, however, religion as a form of in- 
stitutional behavior must undergo modification or find it- 
self subjected to growing tension with other elements of 
culture. This principle may be seen in operation in the 
change which has taken place in the attitude of the Cath- 
olic Church toward evolution. Professor John A. O'Brien, 
Catholic professor on the Newman Foundation at the Uni- 
versity of Illinois, published a volume in 1932 entitled 
Evolution and Religion: A Study of the Bearings of Evo- 
lution upon the Philosophy of Religion. (The Century Co., 
New York). In it this Catholic authority affirmed that 
the Papacy had never maintained that evolution was in- 
compatible with Catholic Christianity. The reservation 
which the. book contains, namely, that evolution does not 


apply to the soul, is one which many Protestant Liberals 
would acceot. This attempt on the part of American 
Catholicism to bring its teachings into closer harmony 
with modern science mdicates that important changes in 
any field, changes which promise to be relatively pennan- 
ent, exert constant pressure upon all other social forces 
until some more adequate form of adjustment takes place. 
Catholicism apparently withstands advances in certain 
fields until pressure compels a revision of the Church's 


There are many changes under way in the contempor- 
ary world. Some of these are more relevant to religious 
institutions than to othevb. Of particular significance to 
contemporary religion is a profound change taking place 
in the contemporary's attitude toward himself and his rel- 
ative importance in the universe, it promises to pai*al- 
lel a similar change in attitude which took place in Greek 
civilization. Perhaps a brief analysis of this trend in the 
history of Greece will clarify the meaning of the contem- 
porary movement. 

From the Homeric period (ca. 850-700 B. C.) to the 
Augustan age, Greek philosophers and dramatists had 
called attention to a force, power or principle which they 
believed to be superior to men, nature, and the gods. It 
was called Moira, Tyche, Ayianke, and Heimarmene, and 
meant that which was allotted or apportioned by ne- 
cessity, fate, chance or fortune. This conception came to 
fine expression in the writings of such Greek tragedians 
as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. It was funda- 
mental in tlie Stoic philosophy as the notion that every- 
thing was in the grip of an inviolable Necessity. This 
notion of Fate is responsible, in large measure, for the 
"failure of nerve" believed to characterize the Augustan 
age by Gilbert Murray.^ Certain passages in the New 
Testament apparently reflect this view. Galatians 4:3 and 
Colossians 2:20 contain references to man as under the 
cont)'ol of the "rudiments" or "elements" of the world. 
Some commentators believe these passages to be oriented 


toward those who believe in astrology, individuals who 
believed that the late of man was written in the stars.^ 
The notion of Fate or Necessity found expression in the 
writings of some of the Christian Apologists. Thus Jus- 
tin Martyr believed that everything below man was under 
the control of Necessity. Tatian insisted that what others 
attribute to Fate or Necessity should rather be attributed 
to the free will of man.-^ This notion of Fate or neces- 
sity was thus part of the Weltanschauung of the inhabi- 
tants of the Hellenic world, and to some degree it shaped 
their religious problem for them. 

The contemporary westerner is witnessing today a re- 
emergence of Moira or fate. He is witnessing a profound 
revaluation of the significance of man. Man as Existent 
finds himself facing anew the problem of his relation to 
what we may call his existential Medium, namely, the to- 
tality in which he lives, moves, and has his being. Devel- 
opments in several fields make it _ impossible for him to 
retain the flattering view of himself in relation to this 
Existential Medium which he held in the past. The first 
of these developments occurred in astronomy and geology. 
They have made it necessary for him to revise his pre- 
viously held views not only concerning the centrality of 
the earth but also of the sun. There is no center to the cos- 
mos which can be determined. The totality consists in 
great star-drifts whose age and size beggar description. 
Any one of these drifts may have a center, but where 
the so-called center of the totality of drifts may be no 
one knows. It was not difficult to view human life as the 
focal point of reality when the earth was the center of 
all. It was more difficult, but not impossible, to retain 
this view when the sun was believed to be the center of 
all. But the unimaginable age and size of even the known 
cosmos of today makes it practically impossible for men 
to retain such optimistic views concerning their own im- 
portance in relation to all. Thus a heightened appre- 
ciation of the dimensions of the Existential Medium 
has been accompanied by a growing sense of self-depre- 
ciation on the part of man. 


The second factor responsible for this contemporary 
self-depreciation is the growth of information in various 
fields. Methods of research in many fields have been per- 
fected to the point where vast amounts of information 
are available to the educated westerner. This knowledge 
has increased to the point where no one can ever hope to 
know it all. This increase in knowledge has been pro- 
duced by specialists. But it in turn makes them neces- 
sary. They are evidence for the fact that knowledge has 
expanded to the degree where it is necessary to divide 
the field in oi'dei to make efficient use of what is avail- 
able. If a given individual determines he will map out 
a reading campaign whereby he will acquaint himself 
with all fields, he soon discovers a curious fact. He has as- 
sumed that intensive reading will narrow his fields of ig- 
norance. He discovers, instead, that it has broadened Uiem. 
It has revealed to him many outlying ranges of thought 
of whose existence he was innocent until then. Having 
been brought to his attention, however, they make their 
demands upon him. Thus intensive reading m.ay be but 
a process whereby one becomes increasingly aware of his 
own ignorance. .While this is no news to the specialist, 
it comes with something of a shock to the layman. He 
has been led to believe that knowedge is power, and now 
learns that most of the available knowledge must be for- 
ever beyond his reach. He believed that one must know 
the facts if he is to live life intelligently and satisfactor- 
ily, yet learns that he must live in partial ignorance at 
least. This vast increase in knowledge has been valuable 
in aiding man to meet many of his needs. At the same 
time, it has brought home to him some of the inherent 
limitations of that upon which he has relied so heavily, 
namely, his intelligence. 

The third of the factors responsible for the contempor- 
ary i-evaluation of human significance is the disintegration 
of moral standards. For many years men believed they 
knew the answers to the two fundamental questions in 
ethics, namely, the nature of the good life, and the meth- 
ods whereby it could be achieved. Before his eyes, and 


often within his own family circle, the contemporary has 
seen the disintegration of the old standards and the re- 
pudiation of the old answers. An anonymous woman pub- 
lished an article some years ago in Hamper's Magazine, 
entitled "The Single Woman's Dilemma," in which one 
phase of this problem received concrete expression. The 
anonyrrious author had frankly repudiated traditional 
sex standards. What now concerned her was a subsid- 
iary problem: How much was she to use her freedom 
from the old standards without wrecking the home life of 
her married paramour or losing her own self-respect? 

The crumbling of moral standards has had a subsid- 
iary effect which is quite important. It has long been 
the commonly held belief that certainty in the moral 
realm could be achieved by any "honest, candid man" 
who sought it.* Despite his inability in many other fields 
he believed it possible to determine what he ought to do 
and how he should do it. If this faith be undermined, 
there is little that he can trust with certainty. Thus the 
crumbling of moral standards and its attendant moral 
confusion removes another of the contemporary's sup- 
ports for his former estimate of liimself. 

The fourth factor which may be mentioned is a cer- 
tain development in some schools of psychology. Two 
Norwegian writers, among others, have applied the 
Freudian methods and concepts to the analysis of religion. 
They believe that the God-concepts held by given groups 
of people are determined for them by childhood experi- 
ences, their own or those of the founders of their relig- 

Luther's God-concept was patterned after the stern Ger- 
man father who rules his children with a firm hand and 
metes out punishment whenever he deems it necessary. 
Thus one felt guilty in the presence of his father, and 
feared punishment. At the same time, there was the affec- 
tion normal to the parent-child relationship which con- 
flicted with the notion of guilt and fear. This concep- 
tion of God paralleled too closely the German concep- 
tion of fatherhood to be merely accidental or incidental. 


It goes back, say these scholars, to the child's early ex- 
periences with his father.'^ In similar fashion, the God- 
concepts of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1834-1886), 
Hindu reformer of the nineteenth century, and of Bodhid- 
harma (sixth century A. D.), the founder of Chen 
(Ch'an) Buddhism in China, were analyzed. The former 
pictured God in maternal terms, and religion as a fonn 
of refuge in mother's arms; the latter pictured God as his 
own Ego expanded to cosmic terms. In both cases, the 
conceptions were attributed to childhood experiences. 

This viewpoint will doubtless have depressing effects 
upon all who accept it, since it removes from man's con- 
scious control some of the important concepts in religion 
and morals. If one's childhood experiences deteiTnine 
one's God-concept for him, what happens to the intellec- 
tual activities normally engaged in for the purpose of 
determining the nature of God? The answer is, of course, 
that they are but rationalizations, i. e., finding plausible 
reasons for what one believes on other grounds. F'urther- 
more, according to this psychology the traditional view 
of human nature as a mass of corruption was really an 
understatement. Man's inner life of desire and impulse 
is so vile that the conscious mind will not peraiit its ex- 
pression without camouflage.^ His morals are but dis- 
guised expressions of sex or ego impulses. His whole 
personality is determined by these basic impulses, and 
more particularly by the way they were given expression 
in early life. 

Finally, the economic life of the west has contributed 
its pai't to the contemporary's revaluation of his own sig- 
nificance. During the past one hundred years there has 
occurred a series of crises, depressions, or contractions in 
business which have taken their toll in economic losses 
and human suffering. Furthermore, they are believed to 
be "recurrent" rather than "periodic," so that the average 
individual has no way of knowing when to expect them. 
They come like thieves in the night, run their course, and 
give way to the next phase in the business cycle, that of 
revival again without giving him adequate warning. The 


great body of folk who do the work of the western world 
find themselves almost as helpless in these business cycles 
as they would be in the grip of an hurricane. 

The effect of these several factors upon the morale of 
western man is difficult to overestimate. With the folk 
in the last stages of Hellenic culture, he feels himself 
caught in a web woven by forces other than himself, and 
so strong that he cannot escape from it. Stoicism and 
Christianity, as well as the mystery religions, combined to 
provide the citizens of the Roman world with a philos- 
ophy of life in which moira or Fate was identified with 
God. Thus the power in whose hands men felt themselves 
to be seized came to be fearsome it became "God the Fa- 
ther Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth." God as cre- 
ator and controller of all was a being whom men might 
trust and love. What he did to them was done for purposes 
which were good in their ultimate outcome. Thus the fail- 
ure of nerve was transmuted into faith in God as al- 
mighty and beneficent. Modern religion must undertake 
somehow to transmute the sense of futility which is seep- 
ing into the spirit of western man into a renewed faith in. 
and loyalty to God as operationally immanent in all these 
seemingly hostile forces. 


Contemporary writers have recognized this situation 
and some of them have sought for ways of meeting it. 
Thomas Vernor Smith published a small volume in 1929 
entitled The Philosophical Way of Life, in which he 
discussed several ways of living. He rejected the relig- 
ious way because he believed that it encouraged men to 
resignation in the face of situations which should be met 
scientifically. He recognized man's need for some form 
of adjustment to that which was beyond his control, and 
proposed a method for meeting such inescapable and un- 
satisfactory experiences. "The playful might describe it 
as a sense of humour; the venturesome as sportsmanship; 
but the soberer mind would probably prefer to think of 
it as scientific curiosity. It is the attitude of the scientist 


while undergoing a painful experimentation, of the sur- 
geon while performing a major operation upon himself, 
of the cheerful non-religious person in the last stages of 
tuberculosis, of the philosopher suffering from an incur- 
able cancer." (pp. 213f). Facing the unsatisfactory in- 
evitables of life, one is advised to adopt the attitude of 
gcientific curiosity toward them. If, in a given phase of the 
business cycle, one finds himself vvithout money or woik 
he should not give way to despair; rather he should find 
relief in charting his emotions as he watches his plans 
and ideals disintegrate under the force of circumstances. 

Another contemporary attack upon the threatened sense 
of hopelessness is made by an English writer, John Cow- 
per Powys. One chapter in his stark, slim volume on 
A Philosophy of Solitude, is entitled "The Self at Bay." 
In it he calls attention to some of the factors responsible 
for the present situation of the self. "The real difficul- 
ties of our existence have to do with privation, poverty, 
sickness, nervous manias, passion and jealousy, hatred 
and malice, cruelty and brutality, boredom, self-indul- 
gence, ambition, frivolity, and every kind of cold, hunger* 
dirt, exhaustion, insomnia and pain."" Powys insists that 
life not worth the living. Something must be done about 
it, but Powys finds little value in the various efforts now 
being put forth. For himself, he proposes a two-fold re- 
sponse to the world about him. First one should adopt 
the attitude of implacable indignation toward whatever 
God, Life or Fate which may be responsible for the total 
situation. This must be done if one is to maintain his self- 
respect. The second response is a form of elemental 
mysticism. Each personality may be viewed as a smooth 
round peb))le completely isolated or isolable from all other 
personalities. Thus one may, if he will, achieve complete 
isol'ation from other personalities. Furthermore, he may 
devote himself, at times, to the solitary intimacy with 
such elemental stuff as wind, space, stones, dirt, grass or 
trees, and aciiieve a high degree of identification with 
the element upon which he concentrates. This elemental 


mysticism will yield enough satisfaction to make life 
somewhat endurable. 

Perhaps the development which has occurred in the 
thinking of an important contemporaiy theologian will 
serve to show how a more religious thinker may respond 
to the contemporary- situation. In 1932, Professor Reinhold 
Niebuhr called attention to certain seemingly irreconcil- 
able conflicts between individual and group morality. He 
stated that there appeared to be no necessarj- correlation 
between an individual's private morality and his public 
acts in some corporate capacity. He reviewed some of the 
institutions presumably engaged in remaking society, 
such as political parties, education and religion, and con- 
cluded that they were one and all inadequate. Even revolu- 
tion was discarded because of the inconclusive nature of 
its end-results. Social reconstniction requires men to 
believe whole-heartedly in the cause they serve. This be- 
lief presupposes acceptance of some "oversimplication" 
which has become absolute: the Kingdom of God, Com- 
munism, or Kultur. Yet these oversimplications, precisely 
because they have become absolute, stand in the way of 
continued progress. Thus social revolution depends upon 
the continuous appearance of men with new illusions to 
replace the old. This means that society must ever be 
dominated by a succession of fanatics. If society is not 
to perish, these fanatics must be subjected to reason. But 
when they become reasonable, they lose most of their 
social effectiveness. In his final statement, Niebuhr ex- 
pressed the hope that reason will not destroy the illusions 
basic to fanaticism until fanaticism has done its work. 

A few years later he returned to the same theme. Once 
again he reviewed the panaceas offered western man; 
once again he rejected them. In the meantime, however, 
he had become imbued with the idea of paradox. He 
concluded that perhaps wJiere reason and rational thought 
fail paradox may succeed. In terms of rational analysis 
of the sever-^l programs of social reconstniction, one mnzt 
admit defeat. Victory, however, may be snatched from de- 
feat by means of a paradox. Christian love is the pavpdnx 


which may win for western man a victory against the 
overwhelming forces confronting him. This love is es- 
sentially forgiveness; as such, it is the most difficult and 
impossible of the virtues. However, if one will but recog- 
nize that it is impossible, and will admit his own faults 
and sins, perhaps the impossible may be possible. When 
one wonders why love as forgiveness is the answer to the 
human difficulties of our time, the answer appears to be 
that the spirit of forgiveness may serve as the "seed corn" 
of better things in the society which succeeds this one.'' 
In a still later book, he moved from paradox to super- 
naturalism. After noting again the difficulties confront- 
ing western man, he wrote: "The only kingdom which can 
defy this world is one which is not of this world."^ Man 
and his techniques having failed, Niebuhr turns to God 
and angels for salvation. 

This means that Niebuhr has lost faith in human rea- 
son, human ingenuity, and human social-mindedness. The 
forces confronting man are too great for him. Like the 
ancient Greeks, man finds himself in the grip of an in- 
violable Necessity from which not even the best-inten- 
tioned may escape. FurtheiTnore, the very notion of the 
self-sufficiency of man smacks of the demonic. Paul 
Tillich, Geraian scholar now in the United States, defines 
the demonic as anything which seeks to make itself an 
ultimate end, whether it be man, institution, or even the 
cosmos; or anything less than God which is made an ulti- 
mate end by some one. God, the Unconditioned, is the 
only final end; all else is demonic in relation to Him.^° 
This implies that man and his Existential Medium, ex- 
cluding God from this for the moment, are incomplete, 
conditioned, limited and finite. By implication, it means 
that one must be pessimistic regarding man and this 
medium in which he exists. Niebuhr, during a five year 
period, made the intellectual journey from New York to 
Berlin; from a realistic optimism concerning man and 
his possibilities to a pessimistic realism concerning both. 

Smith, Powys, and Niebuhr ^re in agreemeM- at one 
point at least. All admit that ihe world is not the best 


of all possible worlds, and that all human beings must 
suffer major defeats some time or other during life. 
Powys and Niebuhr apparently agree that the world is 
exceedingly sick, and has relatively few chances of re- 
coveiy. Powys proposes to accept this as a basic fact, 
and finds whatever satisfaction life may hold in terms of 
elemental mysticism.. Niebuhr appears ready to reject 
the world, and to project into the future the, achievement 
of human satisfaction. Each of these men has faced, di- 
rectly or indirectly, the problem of Moira or Necessity ; 
eacli has presented a solution which apparently satisfies 
him, and which he hopes may be helpful to others. 

There is yet another approach to this problem. It finds 
expression, among other places, in the volume by James 
H. Leuba entitled God or Man? A Study of the Value of 
God to Man. (New York, 1933). Leuba presents two 
propositions. First, man is a non-metaphysical animal. 
We have dallied too long with the notion that man needs 
God. What he actually needs is human companionship, 
food, clothing, shelter, education, culture, recreation and 
leisure. None of these needs require God for their satis- 
faction. Secondly, whatever, man needs may be had 
through intelligently directed activity. Science, appar- 
ently, is still cast in the role of Messiah. It is able to 
give man all that he now needs, or perhaps ever may 
need. This position presupposes a world completely manip- 
ulate, a world devoid of Necessity. What appears 
to be uncontrollable merely rjiarks a temporary limitation 
of science and technology. In the meantime, if life dis- 
turbs one, activity is the panacea. Tennyson wrote of his 
hero who 

" . . fought his doubts and gathered strength, 

He would not make his judgment blind, 

He faced the spectres of the mind, 
And laid them : . . ." 
But Leuba's solution is activity, and still more activ- 
ity. He has no problems which expressional activity 
will not solve. Tins foiTn of non-metaphysical expres- 
sionism is exceedingly valuable in many areas of human 


experience. It is probably one of the most important 
developments in the area of human adjustments. How- 
ever, when it is presented as the solution to all human 
problems, it is subject to serious criticism. A trenchant 
criticism of one who, like Leuba, offers this as a panacea, 
is presented by Lawrence Hyde. "The truth is that he is an 
imperfect realist. He can deal with life properly only in its 
positive phase of outgoing, manifestation, expression. The 
fabric of his philosophy is all warp and no woof. Directly 
the element of limitation comes into play he either repines 
or rebels. Yet it is plain that if we look at life realist- 
ically we are obliged to recognize that the problems raised 
for us by the great fact of Necessity are no less urgent 
and complicated than any other with which we are con- 
fronted. The technique of dealing with this phase of life 
is just as intricate as that called for in achieving express- 
iveness. And it is a technique which is understood 
only by a saint. Where the artist teaches us the art of 
foregoing, the saint teaches us above all the art of sub- 
mitting. Both must be mastered by any spirit that wishes 
to lay claim to maturity. But the principles of the second 
are only understood by the individual who has died to 
his natural self and been reborn in the Eternal."^^ 

This criticism of the attempt to blind oneself to all 
human problems which cannot be solved in terms of 
manipulation and expressional activity appears to be 
valid. It is a simple fact that individuals who fail to see 
in life the element of limitation, of necessity, of moira 
or fate, are imperfect realists. This is not the best of 
all possible worlds in that mankind's every need may 
find satisfaction here. We are in and of a world which 
definitely limits us in the achievement of values. Since 
this is the case, we must recognize this fact and come to 
terms with it. Smith, Powys, and Niebuhr, to confine 
ourselves to those we mentioned above, have faced the 
problem and attempted to meet it. \Vhether one agrees 
with them or not, he must give them credit for confront- 
ing honestly one of mankind's basic and perennial prob- 



Fundamental to late nineteenth and early twentieth 
century social and religious philosophy was the basic as- 
sumption that both man and nature were inherently 
rational and inherently good. Two corollaries were drawn 
from this regulative principle: First, since man and na- 
ture are ] ational and good, individual freedom and indi- 
vidual initiative are the inalienable rights of all men ; sec- 
ondly, the method of persuasion is the only permissible 
way of effecting changes in human relations. This pliil- 
osophy found expiession in the Idealism of Hegel in Ger- 
many and the classical economics of Adam Smith in Eng- 
land, to mantion two outstanding thinkers of these count- 
ries. It likewise found expression in the political docu- 
ments of Europe and America during the same period. 
Religioii.o thought since 1860, or thereabouts, has been 
orientat'Dd towa'd the world depicted in this philosophy- 
Religious leaders saw themselves as integral parrs of the 
whole Liberal movement for social and cultural amelior- 
ation. Society as a whole was more or less sensiti'-ced to 
man's social and economic needs, and religion adjusted it- 
self to the same problems. Man was definitely an optimist 
concerning himsejf and his potentialities.All he lacked was 
guidance and a few more techniques.. Religion offered 
to help him get both. 

Since 1930, however, the optimistic world-view of the 
past two generations has disappeared. Nature is now 
deemed to be irrational, demonic, hostile to man and his 
interests. Man himself is no longer Lord of Creation, but 
a creature of base impulses groping his way blindly to- 
ward their more complete satisfaction. Since man is ruled 
by his passions and impulses, individual freedom and 
individual initiative are impossible, and the method of 
persuasion must give place to group pressures and force. 
This is the Weltanschauung now dominant or approach- 
ing dominance in the contemporary west. It is the world- 
view toward which contemporary religion must sooner or 
later orient itself. 

The religions of the Augustan age faced a similar situ- 


ation. They sought to aid men to a new orientation to 
the world of the day which would enable them to accept 
the relevant facts, while at the same time they retained 
their zest for living. This is the task which now con- 
fronts the Church : It must aid men to accept the rele- 
vant facts concerning themselves and their Existential 
Medium without losing their zest for living. 

If this is done effectively, two dangers must be avoided. 
There is the danger, on the one hand, of leaving man with 
a more depreciated view of nature and himself than he 
now has. Religions, in circumstances like this, fall rather 
easily into the error of world-renunciation. Thus the 
Barthian thinkers in Europe and America attempt to 
neutralize the five factors mentioned above as contrib- 
uting to man's sense of his own insignificance by deny- 
ing the reality of the realms in which these factors oper- 
ate. What difference does it make if we discover the cos- 
mos to be unimaginably vast, that our reasons are fal- 
lible and inadequate, and that our baser impulses domin- 
ate us if these several factors belong to a realm which 
is in actual fact unreal? Thus they hope to save man's 
faith by denying the relevance of the world and of most 
of man himself. This type of solution is world-renounc- 
ing in character, and leads to all the evils which world- 
renunciation has always spawned. 

The other danger is intellectualism. The Stoics of old 
sought to adjust man to the actual world by identifying 
the limiting factors in reality with Deity. Man was bound, 
they said, but the force which bound him was God. Con- 
sequently, }ie could find joy and fulfilment in the limi- 
tations imposed upon him. This philosophy served the 
Roman intellectuals very well, but it failed with the 
lower intellectual levels. It is perhaps true that many 
people cannot identify God with the dominant phase or 
determinate behavior pattern of the total Existential 
Medium and find religious value in the resultant concep- 
tion. In so far as this is true, it suggests the difficulty 
confronting the contemporary religious leader. He must 
avoid the evils of dualistic metaphysics on the one hand 


while guarding himself against the evils of over-intel- 
lectualism on the other. U may be that no one world- 
view will serve all religious groups of our day; that there 
may have to be graded world- views as well as graded 
worship services. In any case, one of the primary roles 
of contemporary religion is that of aiding men to come 
to teiTOS with a new world and the new world-view so 
that life may be lived honestly and zestfully. 

iCf. his Five Sta^s of Greek Religioji, (New York: The Colum- 
bia University Press, 1925), p. 164; Cicero, De Divinationc, I, Iv, 
125f.; Plutarch, "Of Fate," and "Of Fortune." 

2Cf. Die Schriften des Neitlen Testaments, (third ed., by W. 
Bousset and W. Heitraiiller, Goettingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 
1917), II, 60 ff. F. M. Cornford's works, From Religion to Philos- 
ophy, (London: Edward Arnold, 1912), and Greek Religious 
Thought F'roni Homer to the Age of Alexander, (New York: E. P. 
Dutton and Co., undated), develop this theme. I am indebted to 
Dr. Martin Rist for these New Testament suggestions. 

3Justiii Martyr, First Apology, 43; Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 

4Cf. Gore, C, The Philosophy of the Good Life. (New York; 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930), pp. 10 f. 

6Cf. Harald Schjeldei'up und Kristian Schjelderup, Ueber drei 
Haupttypt'n der religioesen Erlebnisformen und ihre psychologis- 
che Grundlage (Trans into German by N. Leixner von Gruenberg; 
Berlin at;d Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter and Co., 1932), chaps, ii 
and iii, especially. 

6Cf. Crichton-Miller, Psycho-Analysis and its Derivatives (New 
York: Henry Holt and Co., 1933), pp. 26 ff., for brief description 
c^ this ph:ise of Freudian thought. 

^^l Philosrphy of Solitude, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 
1933), p. 102. 

^Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics (New York and 
London: Harper and Brothers, 193.5), p. 233. 

^Niebuhr, Beyond Tragedy, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 
1937), p. 284. 


lOCf. Paul Tillich, The Interpretation of History, translated by 
N. A. Rasetzki and Elsa L. Talmey (New York: Charles Scribner'a 
Sons, 1937), Part II, Chap i. 

iiLawrence Hyde, The Prospects of Humanism (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 931), pp. 146 f. 


By Harold Bosley 

Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church, 

Baltimore, Md. 

Dr. T. C. Chao asserts that, "Revelation is easily the 
most important subject in present-day theological think- 
ing."^ This observation is well within the truth if we 
do not interpret the word "theological" too narrowly. 
For, historians, philosophers, and specialists in biblical 
studies, as well as theologians, are deeply interested in 
gaining a clearer idea of the meaning of revelation. Still 
another footnote should be dropped to Dr. Chao's asser- 
tion. Revelation, so far from being a recently discovered 
interest, has always loomed large in Christian thought.- 
For, as Professor John Baillie rightly observes, "The 
idea of revelation has from the beginning played an all- 
important part in the thought of the Christian Church."^ 
Of course, the discussion of it has varied with the "intel- 
lectual climate" of the day. Usually, it simply has been 
accepted as true, yet there have been many periods when 
men have discussed its meaning and debated its validity. 
That we are now feeling the full force of as violent a 
debate as the idea of revelation has ever experienced is 
not open to reasonable question. 

But we misunderstand the situation if we infer that all 
who now dispute about it stand in two solid groups stur- 
dily opposing each other. Seldom, in the confused course 
of human debate on vital issues, is this the case. There 
are, speaking generally, those who believe that the idea 
of revelation gives an adequate account of the compulsive 
power of Christianity. And there are, still speaking gen- 
erally, those who believe that the idea of revelation is 
unequal to the task, and needs the support of other and 
equally valuable expressions of truth. But there is a pat- 
ent lack of unanimity within each group; so much so, in 
fact, that one frequently hears certain exponents of the 
pros and cons chanting, like the Red Queen, "Everyone's 
heads off but our own." It, therefore, behooves anyone 
who cherishes an intelligent interest in religion to give 


time to the whole problem. This paper will attempt to 
gain a perspective on the meaning of revelation. It will 
also outline the most serious problem which confronts 
those who believe revelation to be the only way to control 
Christian truth. 

The Meaning of Revelation 

However much its protagonists may rebel against the 
designation, revelation is one among many theories of 
knowledge. It claims to designate the moment and mode 
in human experience when man is confronted by Ultimate 
Reality. To experience this is to know the Truth which 
forever delivers one from slavery to the piecemeal pat- 
terns of relations discernible in sense-experience. The 
reality thus encountered is simply beyond the cavil or 
criticism of reason, convention, or any other possible 
basis of reproach. 

The epistemological claims of revelation are distinct in 
character from those advanced by any other mode of 
knowing. For in revelation the initiative lies not with 
man and his fumbling efforts but within the all-encom- 
passing, yet incomprehensible because infinite, structure, 
will and purpose of God.^ God in His direct and imme- 
diate character invades conscious human experience. 
Though human reason may have found clues to God's na- 
ture in sense experience and may possibly have glimpsed 
Him from afar,2 the genius of revelation lies in the claim 
that God confronts man and envelops him luith His glory 
and mystery. And it has always proven a thorny task to 
determine and describe the meaning of this momentous 
encounter. The language of logic suddenly gives way to 
analogical if not allegorical and mythical language, while 
these in turn are likely to lapse into simple prose of daily 
experience. The records of these moments of revelation 
abound with paradoxes between light and darkness, im- 
measurable sorrow and boundless joy, and, in the lang- 
uage used by more philosophical minds, ideal and exist- 
ential, universal and particular, form and matter. 

As we probe the idea of revelation a bit deeper we dis- 



cover that it is more than a theory of knowledge. We dis- 
cover that as such it implies a theory of reality, an on- 
tology or metaphysics. Which is another way of saying 
that revelation's claim to knowledge can carry conviction 
only when it is believed that ultimate reality is of such a 
character as to require some such mode of interaction in 
order to make knowledge possible. It is a plain historical 
fact that revelation and supernaturalism have gone hand 
in hand.^ Philosophically speaking, if we grant the validity 
of supernaturalism with its bifurcation of reality into 
supernature and nature, however these modes of reality 
may be described, then revelation is not so much a possible 
as an essential theory of knowledge. The only alternative 
to it is a sort of Kantian skepticism in which the really 
significant area of reality lies beyond the reach of con- 
scious human experience. Philosophy might choose the 
latter, and frequently has, but religion never has, and can 
do so only on peril of losing its meaning. 

But a theory of reality which emphasizes unity rather 
than diversity provides thought with an alternative to 
skepticism on the one hand and revelation on the other. 
The most radical developments in philosophy in our day 
have been precisely along this line. The unity they stress is 
not a static Parmenidean One but is found in directional 
development. It is complex enough to admit the reality of 
what Hulme called "the principle of discontinuity" as es- 
sential correlatives in any adequate explanation of grow^th. 
Professor Arthur Murphy some years ago prophesied that, 
"A genuinely new philosophy is emerging from the trou- 
bled waters of modern philosophy." The distinctive char- 
acteristic of the new development is its refusal to accept 
as necessary the dilemma between a metaphysical dualism 
and a static monism, whether the latter be one of matter 
or of spirit. 

The implications of this philosophic development for re- 
ligion are tremendous, and we have only begun to explore 
their meanings. Naturalisms, ranging all the way from 
the religious humanism of Ray Ward Sellars to the natur- 
alistic theism of Henry N. Wieman give evidence of the 
vitality of the challenge. Just what the outcomes of these 


attempts will be no one of us is wise enough to say, but 
it is obvious that the whole concept of revelation will be 
radically revised if not abandoned as the essential form 
of religious knowledge. 

The exponents of the doctrine of revelation are not un- 
aware of these threatening developments. Yet their ef- 
forts to meet the challenge betray a woeful and suspi- 
cious lack of unanimity on most fundamental issues. One 
of the most careful and revealing expositions of the 
meaning of revelation is to be found in a book published 
three years ago, and entitled Revelation.'^ If you read it 
with care you cannot avoid the conclusion that there are 
as deep fissures between and among the exponents of 
revelation as there are between them and the most search- 
ing critics of their general position. Yet this book, I take 
it, is doing more than reflecting as in a mirror the cur- 
rent Christian scene. The seven contributors, acknowl- 
edged spokesmen for various types of Christian thought, 
agree on only one important matter, namely, there is a 
Chrisfian revelation. What the precise content of that 
revelation is, how it is mediated by and in historical and 
present human experience, what it means to man, and 
whether and how it is related to other types of human 
experience — upon equally important questions like these, 
apart from which the notion of revelation is a hopeless 
abstraction, there is wide disagreement. 

The most persistent dispute in the book mentioned has 
to do with the meaning of the notion of revelation itself. 
To trace the main outline of the controversy is to make 
a sketch of most modern theological movements. It is not 
too much to say that the radicalism of the so-called radi- 
cal theologies of our day is in large measure the inevit- 
able outgowth of a radical view of revelation. Men like 
Karl Barth, H. Kraemer, Emil Brunner, Rudolph Otto, 
N. Micklem, and Gustaf Aulen, to cite some of the better 
known, approach the fact and experience of revelation as 
something unexpected, unthinkable (Kraemer's word)^ 
not only nonpredictable but wholly incomprehensible 
(Brunner's word).- It is. in short, the activity of God's 


self-disclosure — sudden, cataclysmic, like lightning split- 
ting the clouds and dispelling darkness in a burst of 
light. Man may or may not be prepared for it. But no 
amount of preparation through spiritual, rational, or 
ethical discipline can move man one inch nearer the ex- 
perience of revelation, for that comes in God's own good 
time. It flashes out in accord with His will but not in re- 
sponse to man's need or his readiness to receive it.^ 

Man cannot do less than confess and repent of his sin- 
fulness and pray for revelation, faithfully believing that 
in God's own time and in His grace it will come. Once 
it comes he can strive to apprehend it, through faith, and 
cling to such of its meanings as he can discern. For, how- 
ever incomprehensible the fact of revelation itself may 
be, once a revelation has come, in Christ, in the Bible, or 
in Conscience, man can understand, in propo7'tion to his 
faith, and live in the light of this knowledge. Revelation 
is at once thoroughly objective in origin, timing and di- 
rection yet intensively personal in that man is always the 
recipient of it. Brunner writes, "There is no such thing 
as revelation in itself, because revelation consists always 
of the fact that something is revealed to me. Revelation 
is not a thing but an act of God, an event involving par- 
ties; it is a personal address."^ 

The crucial doctrines of the Christian religion are not 
so much revelations as reactions to the fact of the Reve- 
lation of God in Christ. Hence they are the "deposit of 
the faith," the sine qua non of Christian faith. The rad- 
ical theological movements of our day are attempts to 
keep a steady eye on the central fact that "God has spoken 
in Christ." They see this as the sole source of vital doc- 
trine and relevant ecclesiastical forms. Therefore, they 
have been busily engaged in interpreting the fact of reve- 
lation to our day. 

But there is a more moderate interpretation of the 
meaning and scope of revelation. Whereas the men we 
have just mentioned come at the problem largely from 
the angle of theology, other collaborators in the same book 
use another general approach, and with quite different 


results. William Temple, M. C. D'Arcy, Walter Horton, 
William Adams Brown, D. C. Macintosh, and John Oman, 
are among those who utilize what may be called a more 
philosophical approach. Revelation so regarded, is altered 
in attire if not in character. Given the universe as it is, 
ordered and orderly, with every important indication of 
being the creation of a good God ; given man as he is, ig- 
norant, willful, always groping; given these things, reve- 
lation, or a special manifestation of God's will, is a nor- 
mal, rational expectation. 

To illustrate: Bishop Temple argues, "Either all oc- 
currences are in some degree revelation of God, or else 
there is no such revelation at all ; for the conditions of the 
possibility of any revelation require that there should be 
nothing which is not revelation. Only if God is revealed 
in the rising of the sun in the sky can He be revealed in 
the rising of the son of man from the dead; only if He 
is revealed in the history of Syrians and Philistines can 
He be revealed in the history of Israel ; only if He chooses 
all men for his own can He choose any at all ; only if 
nothing is profane can anything be sacred. It is neces- 
sary to stress with all possible emphasis this universal 
quality of revelation in general before going on to dis- 
cuss the various modes of particuluar revelations; for the 
latter, if detached from the former, loses its root in the 
ratio7iai coherence of the world and consequently becomes 
itself a superstition and a fruitful source of superstitions. 
But if all existence is a revelation of God, as it must be 
if he is the ground of its existence, and if the God 
thus revealed is personal, then there is more ground in 
reason for expecting particular revelations than for deny- 
ing them."^ 

I am not now concerned with the content of D)-. Tem- 
ple's argument. It illustrates the fact that one of his pri- 
mary concerns is to show that revelation is rooted i:i "the 
rational coherence of the world" and that there is, there- 
fore, .1 "rational" expectation that particular revelations 
are possible and plausible even through non-predictable 
as to time and character, these resting solely with God. 


This concern of course, does not trouble those who 
entertain the radical theological concept of revelation. 
Karl Barth assures us: "It is not necessary first to ask 
whether there is such a revelation at all. Revelation need 
not first be brought in from any quarter or furnished with 
proof. In the Christian apprehension, revelation is from 
the very first already known and already possessed."* 
Emil Brunner is in decisive agreement, "For Christian 
faith, revelation is not a 'universal', not something to 
be experienced semper et ubique be everybody, but a 
unique, definite, concrete occurrence."- 

The Problem of Radical Revelation 

What I have been calling the "moderate" or philosoph- 
ical view of revelation is not necessarily a retreat from 
the reality mediated through conscious and critical hu- 
man experience. Revelation may simply denote that "con- 
sciousness of the Whole" of which sense-experience and 
institutions give but the part. As such it is a common 
and valuable aspect not only of religious but all cre- 
ative experience. It, therefore, may be regarded as a pro- 
found affirmation of reality. 

But it seems plain enough that the radical theological 
viev,- of revelation is simply and tragically a retreat from 
reality. It is a denial of the ultimate importance of em- 
pirical experience. When carried to its logical conclusion 
it is a thorough-going denial of the religious significance 
of litei'ally all of the creative achievements of man. Con- 
sider, for a moment, what it does to all religions, includ- 
ing Christianity, and to the whole notion of creativity in 
human experience. 

(1) It either minimizes or denies the value of all re- 
ligions. Barth and Kraemer do this as Christian gentle- 
men, that is, as gently and as generously as possible. But 
when they have finished with their bowing and scraping 
before the good intentions, noble ethics, etc., of all relig- 
ions, these religions of mankind are definitely beyond the 
pale of worthfulness. The Christian revelation is not only 
the full but is also the only real expression of God's will. 


It must be seen and accepted as such. Religious, non- 
Christian and Christian alike, are no more than "tokens" 
of tlie reality of God at work throughout the life of man- 
kind, but the Christian revelation (not religion) is com- 
plete, final and certain. Religions, as historical and cul- 
tural developments, doubtless have much of value in them, 
but the Christian revelation places its recipient in a world 
where there is a "transvaluation" of all human values. 
Only one who has accepted thi-ough faith the Christian 
revelation can possibly appreciate its thoroughgoing char- 
acter, Barth and Kraemer insist that, strictly speaking, 
revelation is the negation of all religion, including Christ- 

This last statement is indeed mystifying. Yet, insofar 
as Christianity and other religions are ". . . overt and 
covert endeavors toward self -justification, self-sanctifica- 
tion, and self -redemption . . ."' they are not so much re- 
sponse as resistance to the Christian revelation This can 
only mean that Barth and Kraemer- distrust all religions 
because they, rather than revelation, become the tribunal 
before which man is judged. Since they are so human, hav- 
ing grown up with man, so to speak, they do not appre- 
ciate either the "gravity of sin" or the essentially mirac- 
ulous character of redemption through grace. 

Yet this sort of theological judgment rests on the log- 
ical fallacy of circulai- reasoning and nothing more. No- 
tice how the argument runs. "The Christian revelation 
was given in time, in history. It is the final act in the 
great series of revelations recorded in the Bible. ^ The 
earliest of these is given to nomads whose reaction to it 
is characterized by all the barbarism of primitive peoples, 
the making of Yahweh, a tribal war god. Other revelations 
to prophets and in historical events broaden this original 
conception of the meaning of God. But none of them 
achieves perfection, i. e., mediates the real nature of God. 
It remained for the Incarnation to make this possible, for 
then God became man and 'we beheld His glory. Once 
given, all else either gives way to it or obstructs its mean- 
ing. Hence the Christian revelation must be accepted as 
the negation of religion." 


I say this is circular reasoning because the Incarnation 
of God in Christ can be different in degree but not in 
kind from the preceding revelations or they must be 
labelled false. It is important to notice that the Bible 
as well as subsequent Christian thought is as insistent 
upon the validity of the earlier revelations as upon the 
Incarnation. To separate the Incarnation from its his- 
torical context of antecedents and consequences is to sep- 
arate it, in all literalness, from its meanfulness. Yet to 
keep it in this context is to admit that the truth which 
reaches radiant expression in the Incarnation is the same 
truth that was seeking expression among the nomads in 
the desert of Sinai, Their religious forms were their reac- 
tion to it, their attempt to assimilate that truth to the 
problematical character of life. Hence to depreciate religion 
is to depreciate the revelation which animates it. You can- 
not except in a moment of theological absentmindedness, 
abstract revelation from religion and treat it as "sui 
generis" as Ki-aemer wants us to treat the Christian reve- 
lation within the historical experience of a religion, and 
you can make significant comparisons between the revela- 
tional claims of different religions, providing you do not 
first go through the historical legerdemain of trying to 
treat any given revelation as super-historical. 

This, as I understand him, is what Archbishop Temple 
was saying in his argument, quoted earlier, that general 
revelation is a prerequisite to special revelation. The trag- 
edy of the radical theological position we have been study- 
ing is that in its eagerness to exalt the Christian revela- 
tion as unique, it unwittingly makes it irrelevant to the 
whole range of man's historical reactions to the reality 
of God. And this is the only context in which the Chris- 
tian revelation can reach its full glory as "fulfillment". 

Nowhere have the advocates of radical revelation made 
clear why the Christian revelation does or should lose 
lustre when it is seen to be related or akin to the groping 
of the early Hebrews or of other primitive peoples, for 
that matter. Professor E. E. Marett in his Gifford Lec- 
tures^ of 1931-32 demonstrates the existence, in embryo. 


in primitive religion of the Christian virtues of Faith, 
Hope, and Love. Professor Elsie Clews Parsons' exhaus- 
tive study of Pueblo Indian Religion- discovers tiiat vital 
relationship between personal and social religion which 
is the literal empirical meaning of the Christian concep- 
tion of the ch'irch as a fellowship of believers. Cases like 
these could be multiplied not alone from primitive relig- 
ions but from contemporary world-religions. I grant the 
present existence of wide, perhaps unbridgeable, differ- 
ences between them and the Christian faith. But before 
we accept the solution proposed by radical revelationists, 
i.e., solution by theological definition, it might be well 
to recall and humble ourselves before the conviction that 
many things impossible to man have yet proved possible 
with God. 

(2) Radical theological revelation rests the case for 
religion on an unnecessarily narroiu base. Despite their 
repeated protests that they rejoice over all human values 
the advocates of radical revelationism continually give the 
impression that "there is but one thing needful" in hu- 
man life. And that thing is to accept "the revelation of 
Christ as our sole standard of reference . . ."^ This can be 
interpreted so as to indicate a significant basis for all the 
activities of life, pointing toward a God-filled life, if you 
please. In this sense it could be a profound affirmation 
of reality. But the point of view under consideration 
finds little to rejoice over in this world. The world is the 
abode of sinners whose chief sin is the illusion of right- 
eousness. Man is such a pride-ful creature that he tends 
to idolize the work of his mind or his art or his state or 
whatever he is most interested in. Man is continually for- 
getting his finitude, his creatureliness, his sinfulness. 
These finally break on him in tragedy. Then and only 
then does he realize the truly desperate plight of the en- 
tire human enterprise. Then and only then does he see 
that all he does is under the judgment of a jealous God 
who alone deserves our adoration and humble allegiance. 
It is the function of religion to keep men conscious of 
their sinful state and strengthen them to bear the judg- 


ment of God pronounced upon even the best that they 
can achieve. 

Of course, tliere is much of merit in this position. But 
that it is a fair appraisal of the human scene is open to 
to definite question. People like Jane Addams and 
Graham Taylor did something with their lives that only 
an a-moral God could ignore and only an immoral God 
condemn as worthless, much less wicked. In other words, 
these are definite types of creative efforts open to men, 
and creative achievements are gained by men in the so- 
called secular pursuits. 

There are positive religious implications in a broader, 
more generous affirmation of reality than the radical rev- 
elationists are willing to grant. When we ask men to re- 
gard science, art, philosophy, government, industry and 
education as merely "secular" and urge them to join us 
and to testify that the Christian revelation is all that 
reallj'' matters in life, we are likely to learn from them 
that that would be paying too much for a theological whis- 
tle. We must in fairness recognize that most of the crea- 
tive energies of men and institutions are being consumed 
in these areas. This is so because our most pressing prob- 
lems are there. Men and institutions are wrestling with 
the concrete problems of ignorance, inequality, prejudice, 
misunderstanding, narrowness of vision, and disease. 
Here they live, and, with William James, here they grap- 
ple with the only reality they know — the world in which 
they live. Religion has repeatedly tried to get men to re- 
nounce this world as a wicked place and life as existence 
in the wallow of sin — but the moral and social ideals of 
mankind have steadily refused to accept this as the last 
word. While some religionists regard this as the zenith 
of human sin, and damn it as secularism, another interpre- 
tation is possible. And that is that there is more truth 
in living experience than is dreamed of in our theology; 
that we encounter ultimate reality— the God of which our 
theologies talk — in the v/orld of conscious and critical 
human experience. If this be true, as I believe, 
the traditional concept of revelation stands in immediate 
need of serious revision. 


1. Tin Authority of the Faith, Volumo I, "The Madras Series", 

(in.'iJ), International Missionary Council, New York); "Reve- 
lation", T. C. Chao, p. 22. 

2. E. F. Scott, The New Testament Idea of Revelation, (N. Y., 

Scribners, 1935) pp. 1 ff says that revelation underlies all 

JJ. Bailie and Martin (Ed.), R( relation, (19:!7, Macmillan, N. Y.) 
p. XIV. 

4. Kraemev, The Christiav. Mestiugc to (t Non-Christian World, p. 


5. The position of Aquinas. 

(). A. E. Haydon, M^-n's Search for the Good Life, (N. Y., Harper 
Brothers, 1937) Pansim, esp. p. 161 ff. 

Also E. F. Scott, The Neiv Testament Idea of Revelation, 
(N. Y., Scribners, 1935) Ch. I. 

7. Bailie and Martin, (Ed.) Revelation, (1937, Macmillan, N. Y.) 

8. The Christian Message to a Non-Christian World, p. 73. 

9. Emil Biunner, The Philosophi/ of Religion, (1937, Charles 

Scribner's Sons, N.Y.), p. 72, 78, 96. 

10. Scott, o// cit., p. 6. 

11. Brunner, op. cit., p. 32. Yet Brunner contradicts this position 

when he later writes, "We can neither experience nor under- 
stand divine revelation, but simply believe it." p. 79. 

12. Temple, William, Nature, Man and God^ pp. 306-307, quoted 

in Revelation, op. cit., p. 97. Italics mine. 

13. Revelation, op. cit., p. 43. 

14. Brunner, op. cit; p. 50; cf. Also pp. 103-4 for elaboration of 

this point in terms of other religions. 

15. The Authority of the Faith, D. Kraemer, "Continuity or Dis- 

continuity", p. 19. 

](). Ibid., pp. 2-3: "...the only way to maintain strongly that the 
Christian revelation contains the one way to truth is to isolate 
it entirely from the whole range of human religious life." 

17. Kraem-^r, The Christian Message to a non-Christian world, 

p. 61. 

18. E. E. Marett, Faith, Hopt\ an<( Charity in Pri)nitive Religion, 

(1932, Macmillan, N. Y.) 

19. (1939, University of Chicago Press, Chicago). 

20. The Authority of the Faith, Kraemev, op. cit., p. 20. 


By C. C. McCown 

Pacific School of Religion 

Berkeley, California 

Nearly two centuries ago Ernesti and Semler stated the 
basic principle? upon which the intrepretation of the 
Scriptures sh..iild rest. The Bible must be interpreted like 
other books, ];hilologically and historically. Semler laid 
special emphasis on the fact that the greater part of the 
Bible was a -IV^wish book and must be understood as such. 
Thus he show'^d his appreciation of the importance of 

Since the eighteenth century, historians and students 
of literature have made immense progress in the develop- 
ment of methods of interpretation. Ernesti and Semler 
would have balked at many of the results wliich have 
come from the application of their own principles. Yet, 
if they could have followed the process of development 
from their tiiiie down to the present, thej^ could not but 
see that, however faulty the application may at times have 
been, the accepted methods of philological and historical 
interpretation, as now" used by students of literatuie and 
history, are entirely defensible, and are absolutely indis- 
pensable to any one who wishes to get at both the facts 
of Christian history and the truth of Christian teaching. 

Passing by details as to the progress which has been 
made and the methods now in use,^ this paper proposes 
merely to emphasize one or two aspects of the process of 
interpretation and to point out, by two or three pi-actical 
and at the moment topical illustrations, how the accepted 
principles are still widely neglected — with most unfortu- 
nate results. 

Certain methods and results are universally acclaimed. 
It is unnecessary to emphasize how different the present 
picture of the New Testament text is from that which 
Bengel used. All New Testament scholars know how in- 
finitely richer present knowledge of the Greek language 


of New Testament times is than in the days of Ernesti 
and Semler. The study of contemporary inscriptions and 
papyri has revolutionized philological interpretation. 

Other less external results are less popular. The religio- 
historical method, often decried by those who have some 
theological ax to grind, nevertheless has proven an in- 
valuable tool, though with too keen a cutting edge for 
many. Not infrequently it has been recklessly used with 
disastrous rer>ults — -by the protagonists of the Christ-myth 
theory for example. Through easily understandable prej- 
udice, the neglected field of Talmudic studies is accepted 
as providing pertinent parallels, while the much-plowed 
field of the mystery religions is viewed askance. Yet 
surely, if interpretation is to be historical, to replace 
every religion and its documents in the very religious soil 
out of which it grew is even more necessary than to recon- 
struct the political or economic milieu. No matter how 
new and origmal, ideas can never be properly understood 
if divorced fj'om their historical context. 

A proper psychological attitude is demanded of the in- 
terpreter. "Psychologizing interpretation" which is purely 
imaginative is rightly decried. Albert Schweitzer attacks it 
savagely.2 Yet every interpretation is subjective. Its 
measure of objective truth depends upon the interpreter's 
ability to put himself in the place of the writer whom he 
is interpreting. He cannot avoid psychologizing, tacitly 
or avowedly. No one can understand — and properly dis- 
count — 'Schweitzer's brilliant either-or dialectic until he 
has read Memories of Childhood and Youth and Out of 
My Life and Tho2ight. Interpretation, if it is to be ad- 
equate, must depend upon psychology. 

However, psychology as a set of rules is a hindrance 
rather than lielp. As an excuse for purely imaginative 
reconstruction, after the facile manner of the novelist, it 
commits all of the crimes in the historian's code. What 
is needed is liistorical imagination and psychological in- 
sight which can come only from the most intimate knowl- 
ege of the h-slorical context of the document or person to 
be interpreted. Wilhelm Dilthey coined a word to ex- 


press it: E'i.'yfUhlung, best translated by "empathy." It 
is the proce&s, not of "sympathy," standing along beside 
another and 'feeling with him," but of putting one's self 
into another's place and feeling as he did.'^ Only tJie highly 
gifted individual who is also an indefatigable student can 
achieve such a result. 

Dilthey did not have the Bible alone in mind when he 
insisted upon empathy as an essential in interpretation. 
But empathy makes a place for the necessary religious ap- 
preciation of religious documents. By a strange retreat 
to the old obscurantist idea of Theopneustie ("divine in- 
spiration"), certain German theologians in the interwar 
period began to demand a spiritual ("pneumatic") inter- 
pretation of the inspired Word.'* Others insist upon a 
"theological" interpretation.^ Both tend to be merely 
rationalization'^ of the practice of reading sixteenth-cent- 
ury doctrine into the ancient documents. True empathy 
is possible only to one who has religious feeling, but it 
does not allow one to modernize the Scriptures. One of 
the easiest and worst crimes of exegesis is modernization. 
Indeed the chief effort of the interpreter must always be 
to avoid reading modern ideas into ancient documents.*' 

If the Bible is to serve as a moral and religious guide 
to the twentieth century it must be thoroughly under- 
stood as an ancient document. Full allowance must be 
made for the differences between its times and ours. There 
must be a clear apprehension of what the conditions were 
with which the ancient writers were dealing and of the 
remedies they proposed for the evils of their age. Then, 
if we can also gain a clear understanding of our own 
age and its p''oblems, we are ready to reinterpret the an- 
cient message and apply it to modern times. Not moder- 
nization, but a reinterpretation based upon scientific 
methods of txegesis is the proper recourse for the Chris- 
tian teacher who wishes to declare a modern message 
based honestly upon the ancient Book. 

There are numerous areas in which the application of 
these principles is accepted by the majority of Christians 
without question. Not many insist on keeping the dietary 


laws of the Old Testament. It is generally recognized that 
the Sabbath v/as made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 
Not many take literally the commands of Jesus to cut off 
the hand and pluck out the eye that offends. Most Chris- 
tians do not apply his prohibition of oaths to legal oaths, 
which, in their modern form, were then unknown. Cus- 
tom no longer decrees that a woman of good character 
must always appear in public, and therefore in the Chris- 
tian assembly, with her head covered. Neither do many 
Christians outside of Germany (of all places), though 
most of them try to be patriotic citizens, believe the 
powers that be to have been ordained of God. 

In much move fundamental matters, however, the rules 
of interpretation are honored more in the bieach than 
the obseivance, liteially "honored in the breach," because 
their observance would check misdoing. Three illustra- 
tions may assist in making the lange of these principles 

The rules which Ernesti laid down in his Institute of 
Neiv Testament Interpretation (1761) were perhaps 
chiefly directed against the ancient and disreputable prac- 
tice of allegorical interpretation, along with its later 
variants, symbolical and typological interpretation. To the 
lite" alist, allegorical intei pretation is essential. So long 
as the church believed the Scriptures verbally inspired, 
the doctrine served a useful purpose, else most honest men 
would have had to pluck out their eyes. But of course, 
it allows any man with a vivid imagination to claim sc^ ip- 
tural authority for any idea his ingenuity can read into 
a biblical passage. Rightly, therefore, modern scholar- 
ship has rejected the method as both dishonest and dan- 
gerous. Only a few denominations now publicly defend 

Unfortunately, however, many preachers continually 
tread on the edge of the danger zone in their use of texts 
and incidents from the Bible. Exegetical preaching is al- 
most inevitably guilty of the misuse of Scripture, for 
there are very few passages in the ancient Book which 


can be applied in detail 1;o modern problems because the 
situations are different. Therefore most preachers, with- 
out reasoning why, have abandoned the attempt to draw 
out successively from long passages of Scripture ideas 
pertinent to the problems which their congregations face. 
Yet seimons are, according to tradition, to be based upon 
a Bible text. Therefore, with much fortitude and some 
ingenuity preachers pick out pegs on which to hang their 
scattered ideas. The practice maj'- secure a certain amount 
of unity in otherwise disorganized discourses. But it is 
thoroughly reprehensible. 

What right has a preacher to read into Jacob's struggle 
with the angel at the brook Jabbok a series of edifying 
remarks on the struggle of a man's better self with his 
evil nature? There is nothing in the incident nor in a 
later life of Jacob to indicate any change of character. The 
stoiy means nothing but the triumph of Israelite national 
gingoism. There are numerous similar biblical incidents 
with their traditional edificatory exudations from which 
the modern preacher may surreptitiously take a sip when 
his springs of inspiration run dry. Actually their use 
is dishonest, for the preacher, whether he seeks it or not, 
acquii'es an appearance of divine authority for a message 
which the ancient writer never dreamed of proclaiming. 

Allegorizing is not only dishonest; it is also dangerous. 
The layman cannot be expected to distinguish biblical 
teaching from modernization in such presentations, nor 
can he acquire any true perspective from which to judge 
the varied religious nostrums which are thrust upon him 
with the supposed backing of biblical authority. A speaker 
more imaginative and less scrupulous may easily appear 
with much more dazzling interpretations. Like poison gas, 
allegovy and all religious modernizations of Scripture are 
weapons to be avoided. Both honesty and wisdom forbid 
their use. 

In this category belongs the "psychologizing interpre- 
tation" which is justly criticized. Schweitzer describes it 
as an extra-fare through ticket which carried the interpre- 
ter past all difficulties without stops. "^ What he means is 


"reading between the lines," knowing the minds of bibli- 
cal characters and imagining their motives and purposes 
in order to explain why things happened, when there is no 
information given in the records. Such misuse of the an- 
cient documents too often betrays atrocious taste in ad- 
dition to the basic dishonesty which throws those who 
practice it open to a thoroughly unscrupulous competi- 
tion from unprincipled sects and cults and from "sciences" 
which have no legitimate place either in Scripture or in 

* :■: :i< :•: * 

A much more difficult issue is raised by the use of the 
words of Jesus in the debate over pacifism. The question 
is broached here, not in order to argue the right or wrong 
of pacifism, but to point out the misuse of the New Testa- 
ment on both sides. 

To cite Jesus' use of a whip of small chords to drive 
out the cattle from the temple, as John tells the story, can 
only be regarded as ridiculous. To quote the Lucan say- 
ing, "Let him that has no sword sell his mantle and buy 
one" or Matthew's, "I came not to send peace but a 
sword" (10:34), is confession of a lack of persuasive 
arguments. However, Matthew's "Put up thy sword into 
its place, for all that take the sword shall perish by the 
sv/ord" (26:52) is equally without bearing upon the mod- 
ern problem of war. Like so many proverbial sayings, it 
is not true. Many perish but not all. It was true at the 
time and place. How helpless Galilean peasants with two 
swords agains*^ the armed Temple guards! Resistance was 
useless at that moment on the slopes of the Mount of 
Olives. But the saying does not have general application. 
It is difficult to understand how anyone can take such 
arguments seriously. They never are taken seriously by 
those on the opposite side of the discussion. 

The aro-umtnt based upon Jesus' teaching regarding 
love for one's neighbor raises a much more fundamental 
issue. Do Jesus' sayings, "Resist not the evil person (or 
"deed"), but whoever smites you on the one cheek, turn 
to him the other also," mean not only that hatred and 


strife are evil, but that there are no circumstances in 
which the Christian should fight? According to the con- 
text tliese saying.s apply only to purely personal and in- 
dividual quarrels and hatred. Does "love your enemies" 
mean one cannot fight for his country? In the context 
it applies to personal enemies and religious persecutors. 
Do Jesus' refusals to avoid or resist arrest and his conse- 
quent death on the cross mean that no Christian should 
ever resist injustice by force? Does it mean that all force 
is wrong ? Let me i-epeat : I am not now arguing the right 
or wrong of the pacifist position, but only whether the 
word and example of Jesus may be used as a definite and 
decisive argument for it. I am very far from intending 
to suggest that the kingdom of God can be set up by force 
or its coming hastened by either law or war. Yet surely 
the pacifist who argues that war is wrong because force 
cannot make men moral or because force cannot be used 
to bring in the reign of God is most illogical for one thing 
and, for another, he is inconsistent if he does not become 
a Tolstoyan anarchist and find the police and prohibition 
equally objectionable. 

Only if the circumstances under which Jesus spoke can 
be shown to be practically identical with the present situ- 
ation of Christians in the world has a direct argument 
from his words any immediate cogency. Just the opposite 
is true. Jesus lived in a world that was as different from 
ours, politically and socially, as it was in the matters of 
science. Outside of Harlem or Los Angeles, a Christian 
preacher who went about today apostrophizing demons 
would probably end shortly in the insane asylum or the 
penitentiary. That Jesus exorcized demons does not dimin- 
ish our respect for him, for belief in demons was a part 
of the medical science of the time. Chemists still honor 
Ira Remsen although he believed the atom indivisible. 
Jesus doubtless believed in the Ptolemaic universe and in 
much else which modern science has discarded. As he 
lived in a difl'erent universe from ours, so also he lived in 
a diflferent political world. 

Part of tha difference between Jesus' social world and 


ours was due to a difference in his science, philosophy, 
and theology. Whether Jesus proclaimed himself the 
Messiah or not, whatever he believed about the Son of 
man and his own relation to the coming reign of God, no 
one who studies the Gospels in the light of the beliefs of 
Judaism and the early church is likely to deny that Jesus 
believed in the imminence of a revolutionary change in 
the world order. The reign of God was at hand. It was 
not to come by any planning of men or by social action of 
any kind, but solely by a miraculous intervention of (iod. 
God had created the world in six days. He would create 
a ]iow world as e^.sily and as quickly. Chaos would again 
become order when God's Spirit brooded over the earth. 

Men must learn to live in the spirit and under the im- 
jiulsion of the motives which would be operating when 
God's will should be done on earth. If they wished to en- 
joy the reign of God when it came they must now live as 
if it were here. It can hardly be denied that Schweitzer is 
partly right in insisting that Jesus preached an interim 
ethics. On the theoretical side, then, Jesus' teaching re- 
veals so great a difference of outlook that, without a thor- 
oughgoing reinterpretation, it cannot be applied to our 
modern problems. 

From a practical point of view the same conclusion is 
inescapable. The situation of the prophets in ancient 
Israel was much more like ours than that of Jesus was. 
They vv^ere members of an autonomous, but not an entirely 
independent, nation. The democratic tradition of ancient 
nomadic Israel provided no elections or parliaments, but 
it did allow the members of the nation an independent 
voice in criticizing the policies of the monarchy. Jesus 
lived under an alien government. He and his audiences 
could not improve their position by any political action 
they could take. They were not citizens with a responsi- 
bility for the pohcies of the government. At best they 
could only improve their internal situation by living to- 
gether like brothers and aiding one another to bear the 
foreign yoke. If their religion could be purified of useless 
formalities and permeated with genuine devotion to God 


and regard for one another, they could endure the wrongs 
done them from without. The morality which would be 
demanded when the reign of God came was exactly what 
was required to make the nation strong within itself. That 
is equally true today, and it is equally difficult to impress 
upon the national conscience. 

Anyone who was not blinded by nationalistic egotism 
and uncontrolled hatred could see that revolt against 
Rome was hopeless. Perhaps, as Dean Case has pointed 
out, Jesui. in his childhood had learned from the destruc- 
tion ot Seppiiorio the futility of armed revolt.*^ Jesus' 
preaching of love for enemies and his reply on the ques- 
tion of tribute could easily seem a direct rebuke to the 
rising revolutionary party which, forty years later, 
brought about the destruction of Jerusalem and the na- 
tion. It probably was so intended. But whether this is 
true or not is beside the question. 

What Jesus then said cannot be taken as any extenua- 
tion of passivity in the face of the unjust invasion of a 
modern Christian citizen's rights. His citizenship in- 
volves duties. He fights and suffers, not for his own 
sake, but for the sake of all of his fellow citizens and for 
the sake of thousands yet unborn. Jesus' teachings are 
no blanket condemnation of force, but only of quarreling, 
hatred, and revolt under the given circu7nstances. So far 
as anything Jesus says is concerned, under other circum- 
stances revolt might be called for. Under other circum- 
stances war might be a necessary evil. The kingdom of 
God was coming; therefore revolt was then as unneces- 
sary as it wa^5 futile. 

The point of argument, then, is this: A conscientious in- 
terpreter caniiot claim that Jesus condemned war as such 
or that he forbade Christians to use force for any xjurpose. 
The conscientious interpreter can insist that, according- 
to Jesus' moral principles, force or social pressure or 
obedience to custom does not make people righteous in 
God's eyes. He may, if he pleases, argue with Tolstoi — 
most unwisely as I see it — that men relieved of the pres- 
sure of law and left to the dictates of their own good will 


must necessarily live kindly, righteous lives. But no one 
has the right to quote Jesus as an authority, either explic- 
itly or implicitly, for such a view. 

<: >:■■ ^ •■■f * 

Another illustration of the misuse of Jesus' words has 
to do with divorce. There are three points on which con- 
ditions toucliing marriage and divorce in Jewish society 
differed from ours: (1) Marriage was a matter of legal 
contract arranged by parents. (2) Neither the state nor 
the ecclesiastical authorities had any official relation to 
the ceremony. (3) Among the Jews divorce was infinitely 
easie)* than it. is today, even in Nevada, and the woman 
had no protectioii except as to the property rights men- 
tioned in the marriage contract. The husband at any time 
had the right to divorce his wife by giving her a "bill of 
divorcement" if, at the same time, he gave her back her 
dowry and otherwise fulfilled the terms of the contract. 

The Pharisees' question, "Is it right to allow divorce 
for any and every reason?" touched a very ancient as 
well as a very troublesome problem. The "house" or 
school, of the great rabbi, Shammai, said, "No, it is not 
allowed." The school of the equally great and much bet- 
ter loved, as well as more popular, Hillel, said, "Yes, it 
is allowed," and the reasons accepted ranged from burn- 
ing the dinner to adultery.^ What Jesus said about the 
law of Moses and the sanctity of marriage must be viewed 
with this in mind. He was attacking the notorious laxity 
of Pharisaic law and the resulting injustice to women. 

Another problem arises when one compares Matthew 
with Mark, Luke, and Paul. Actually there is no better 
attested saying of Jesus in all of the New Testament^** 
than this: "Whoever divorces his wife and marries an- 
other commits adultery against her and if she who has 
divorced her husband marries another she commits adul- 
tery" (Mk 10:llf.). The Second Source had a slightly 
different, more Jewish, and therefore, probably more ac- 
curate versiori of the second provision : "And he who mar- 
ries a woman divorced from her husband commits adul- 
tery" (Lk 16:18). Paul uses the word which applies to 


both husband and wife: "A woman is not to be separ- 
ated (Passive not Middle) from her husband — but if she 
be separated, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled 
to her husband — and a man is not to put away his wife" 
(1 Co 7:10). It is important to note that — most expressly 
and most unusually — Paul says that this is a command of 
the Lord, He surely means Jesus, for no such command 
of God is to be found in the Old Testament. 

Mark's second clause is perhaps phrased to fit Roman 
law, which allowed a woman to divorce her husband, as 
Jewish law, properly speaking, did not.^^ Otherwise Mark, 
Luke, and Paul agiee in substance: marriage after a sep- 
aration or divorce is adultery. ^- 

Matthew repeats both the Marcan passage and also that 
from the Second Source. In both cases he allows remar- 
riage to the man if the woman has committed adultery. 
In spite of some opinions in favor of Matthew's version, 
it is impossible to see how Mark, Luke, and Paul would 
all have made remarriage more difficult by leaving out 
adultery as an excuse for remarriage if Matthew's version 
had been the authentic words of Jesus. If anywhere, the 
textual axiom which favors the more difficult reading ap- 
plies here. The ascetic tendencies in the early church had 
hardly yet begun to work to such an extent as to affect 
these three writers, and perhaps especially Mark at Rome. 
On the other hand, it is easy to see how the converted 
scribe who wrote Matthew, or the Jewish Christian group 
from whom much of his material came, would feel that 
the bald prohibition of Jesus must be toned down. 

Is the Chrit:tian, then, bound to insist that divorce and 
remarriage are categorically forbidden by a direct com- 
mand of Jesus himself? Not at all. What concerned Jesus 
was the sanctity cf marriage and the injustice done to- 
women and to the family by the husband's legally un- 
checked right to dismiss his wife. Under the complexity 
of modern social conditions, the vigorous and emphatic 
statement of an ancient popular preacher engaged in what 
became a life and death struggle with his enemies cannot 
be taken as unalterable law. To take any saying of Jesus 


as a final aiul absolute law is to contradict his lunda- 
mental principle, that the spirit, not the letter, of the law- 
is to be followed. 

What the church needs to do, if it would follow Jesus, 
is to emphasize the moral obligations and social signifi- 
cance of man iage. If the first marriages were directed, 
neither by considerations of finance and social pi'cstige 
nor by soft sentiment and hasty animal emotion, but by 
mutual respect and open-eyed intelligence, preachers 
would need to have little concern over second marriages. 

Honest interpretation, then, demands almost unattain- 
able qualifications: industry, learning, "empathy," critical 
intelligence, knowledge of both ancient and modern times, 
but above all honesty — an unwearied and inflexible deter- 
mination, not to win an argument or defend a creed, but 
to discover the truth. 

iFor a brief account see C. C. McCowii, The Search for the Real 
Jesus (New York: Scribners, 1940), 24-::!."., 10r»-4:3. 

2 See below. 

3Cf. C. C. McCown, Search for the Real Jesus (New York, 1940), 

'•Enrich Fascher, Votyi Verstehen des Neiien Testaments (Giessen, 
1030), 12, 19, note 1, 26 ff. 

Hbid., 71 f. ; of. Hans Windisch, Der Sivm der Ber</predif/t (Leip- 
zig, 1929), li:j-29. 

6Cf. H. J. Cadbury, TJie Peril of Modernizing Jesus. New York: 
Macmillan, 1937. 

'^Qiiest of the Historical Jesus (London, 1910), 331 f.; of. 217-22; 
Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschiing (Tubingen, 1913), 371 f. ; of. 

»Jesas, a New Biography (Chicago, 1927), 207-12. 

'•'See Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar znm Neun Testament I 
(Munich, 1922), 312-20. 

lOVVith the sole exception of the command of love. 

iiCf. Strack-Billerbeck, op. cit. II (Munich, 1924, 23 f.; Monte- 
fiore, Synoptic Gosj)els, 2nd ed. (London, 1927), I, 234 flf. 

'2Paul does not refer to the man's remarriage, but surely that 
:s a mere oversight. 


By Conrad Henry Moehlman 

Colgate-Rochester Divinity School 

Rochester, N. Y. 

In a recent best seller entitled "Can Christianity Save 
Civilization",* the author is too pessimistic and also too 
optimistic. The study is dedicated to one gone and "to 
the future of my nephew who may live to see some of its 
prophecies fulfilled, which I shall not." After stating that 
Christianity is near the midnight hour, he anticipates its 
survival from a half dozen trends which singly and collect- 
ively have already shown themselves too weak to resusci- 
tate the dying giant. 


Making use of a time-clock, our gloomy philosopher 
alleges that Roman Catholicism is at twelve midnight or 
even beyond the twelve-stroke, while the Eastern Ortho- 
dox Chuiches are at the click which precedes the stroke 
of twelve. 

Protestantism, apparently, is to suffer a somewhat 
longer death agony. For English Protestantism, it is 
11:59 P. M. The northern tier of United States Prot- 
estantism, has reached the same second of time. For the 
Protestantism of Scotland it is 11:45 P. M.; for that of 
Northern Ireland, 11:40 P. M.; for that of Southern 
United States, 11:30 P. M.; for that of Australia and 
New Zealand, 11:15 P. M.; for that of Scandinavia, 10:59 
P. M. Of course, there is nothing new here. Primitive 
Christians also believed that "the hammer of the world 
clock was raised to strike the last hour". The "last hour" 
has been a long time coming. 

Now a fleeting glance at the 1936 Census of Religious 
Bodies in the United States reveals a continuation of 
Roman Catholicism among us until at least A. D. 2,401. 
Hence the expectancy for Scandinavian Christianity is 
A. D. 29,836. 

*By Walter M. Horton, Hai-per and Brothers, 1940. 


Anotlier count in the indictment against Christianity is 
tliat "th»' intellectuals and tlie laboring classes are to a 
considerable extent alienated from the churches, as they 
vveie in Germany before the revolution". 

Two further counts against Christianity are its world- 
liness and disunity. 

The exodus from the churches is on in full swing: 

"F'eeling these and other weaknesses in the churches 
many people today are looking for religious reality 
outside of the churches. Some of them are taking up 
queer and esoteric cults, often with an oriental flavor: 
astrology, theosophy, anthroposophy, Bahaism, Rosi- 
crucianism. the several varieties of New Thought, and 
a hundred other cults that thrive in Boston and Los 
Angeles, and advertise in the New York newspapers. 
Some are swept by strange new enthusiasms that 
come gushing up from the depths of our disordered 
society, such as the amazing movement led by Father 
Divine. Sojne find their cure-all in psychoanalysia, 
mental hygiene, and applied psychology. Some find 
religious satisfaction in radical political or economic 
movements, from Communism to Townsendism. But 
by far the largest group of our contemporaries are 
in effect making a religion of nationalism, and deify- 
ing the distinctive culture of their people, whatever 
that culture happens to be." 

But there is hope! The lona community, the Oxford 
Group, the confessional church, social emphasis, ecumen- 
icity and the "younger churches" are leavening the Chris- 
tian masses and bringing in a renaissance. 

What is needed is a return to seventeenth century 
Puritanism and the ushering in of a new phase of the 
kingdom of God. But the approaching Christia!i world 
civilization "will not be the Heavenly Kingdom of God . . 
but only another step in earthly manifestation and triumph 
of that Heavenly Kingdom . . . Civilization must con- 
stantly admit its imperfections and adapt itself to new 
requirements, if it is to live on at all in history. The worst 



tiling that could happen to any civilization would be to 
get identified with the Millennium." 


One wonders how the author could reach the strange 
conclusion that Roman Catholicism is so near the end. 
Macaulay was not day-dreaming when he wrote: 

" . . the history of that church joins together the 
two great ages of human civilization. No other insti- 
tution is left standing that carries the mind back to 
the time when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the 
Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded 
in the Flavian amphitheatre . . . She saw the com- 
mencement of all the governments and of all the ec- 
clesiastical establishments that now exist in the 
world; and we feel no assurance that she is not des- 
tined to see the end of them all. She was great and 
respected before the Saxon set foot in Britain, be- 
fore the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian 
eloquence still flourished in Antioch, when idols were 
still worshipped in the temple at Mecca. And she may 
still exist in undiminished vigor when some travel- 
ler from New Zealand shall in the midst of a vast 
solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London 
Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's." 

The files of 'The Protestant Digest" and George Seldes' 
"The Catholic Crisis" are filled with concrete illustrations 
of the growing power of contemporary Roman Catholi- 
cism. If all this does not satisfy, read the "American 
Protestant" and Rufus Weaver's "The Vatican Envoy" 
and particularly the article "France in Reverse" in the 
September, 1940, number of "The Fortnightly" where data 
are presented pointing to a Catholic European coalition 
consisting of Spain, France, Italy, Bavaria, Austria. 

In 1936, Roman Catholicism reported a United States 
population of almost 20 millions. During the decade 1926 
to 1936, Catholicism here increased over seven percent 
while the total United States religious increase came to a 


little ovei- two percent. P'or some decades to come Roman 
')licism will constitute about one-seventh of the popu- 
lation oi" tlie United States. 

Any philosopher who believes in the near death of 
Roman Catholicism might with profit read this Catholic 
estimate of Catholicism: 

""France is the njost orthodox country in the world, 
b(3caus(? in matters of religion the most indifferent. 
Catiiolicism, as it is, gives us just what we want: a 
compiehensive religion, a religion full of myths, su- 
perstitions, and absurdities; and, on the other hand, 
full of prolound ideas, significant ritual, and flourish- 
ing symbolism; invested with an artistic charm, and 
yet of an ascetic character; adapted to every kind 
of mood or temper, while still retaining all the rings 
of historical giowth in its mighty trunk. Doubts and 
soul-tormenting questions there are none; and when 
they arise, authority at once steps in. But no one, 
and least of all an educated layman, is expected to 
assimilate this enonnous system of religion as an 
intellectual possession, and regard it with faith. On 
the contrary, towards it and in it, all attitudes are 
possible and tolerable; and even the scoffer observes 
a side of it which reduces his sneers to silence. Here, 
then, every individuality finds its account; a woman 
lives herself into it otherwise than a man; the 
believei- takes to it in one way, the free-thinker in 
another ; for he too respects it, and he smiles. The 
priests are alone charged with keeping the whole of 
it in force, and this is impossible if they are not ini- 
tiated into the system when they are young, and kept 
from the innlucnce of modern culture, and more espe- 
cially of science. The education given in the semi- 
naries is, therefore, just the right thing. Above all 
things, dor't let us have an intellectual religion; it 
would immediately begin to make claims, and try to 
master the heads and consciences of men. This, says 
the Catholic, is what happens in Protestantism, which 


is, accordingly, narrow, limited, presumptuous, and 
importunate. Protestantism demands that everyone 
shall believe the same thing, and really believe in his 
inmost heart everything that the Church believes, and 
by it regulate his whole view of the world and the 
conduct of his life. That is just the reason why it is 
so divided and politically so powerless — a mere refuge 
for pervers'3 and narrow minds. How large is Cathol- 
icism in comparison, how universal and how elastic.'" 

Intellectuals have always been deserting the churches — 
from Paul's day to eighteenth century Yale and twentieth 
century Germany. But Fry has shown that contemporary 
intellectuals, lo judge from "Who's Who in America", do 
not discount membership in the churches. 

The count of vvorldliness against the churches cari be 
documented in the New Testament. "Those good old days" 
that never were on land or sea! Take the assumption, for 
example, of the lack of worldliness in Puritan days! Turn 
to the report of the "Reforming Council" of Massachusetts 
Bay, 1679 and road the twelve charges with full proof: 
Great and visible decay of the power of Godliness, pride, 
neglect of church fellowship, pollution and profanation 
of the holy and glorious name of God amongst us, Sab- 
bath breaking, the decadence of the family altar, inordi- 
nate passions, intemperance, promise breaking, inordinate 
affections to the world, opposition to the work of the 
Reformation, lack of public spirit. 

Richard Heath in "The Captive City of God," 1904, 
makes a much stronger case against the churches in his 
chapters on"The Waning of Evangelicalism", "The Ap- 
proaching Eclipse of the Churches," "The W^orking Clas- 
ses and the Free Churches." He likewise takes refuge 
in the approaching "city of God — the need of the world." 

Ponder these excerpts from Heath: 

"I believe it rests in the fact that the working 
classes feel that in most churches and chapels there 
is a social atmosphere in which they cannot exist with 
due respecc to Labour and its representatives. The 


Nonconformist Chapel does not present such outrage- 
ous scandals as have been seen in some Churches, 
where the gentry communicates before their lielots 
presume to approach the communion rail, but there 
is in a vast number of chapels, or there has been un- 
til very recent times, practically the same sort of 
class division. If we would search our consciences 
as to the way in which we treat a working-man or 
woman, and compare it with the way we treat people 
supposed to belong to the middle or upper class, we 
should find in it quite enough to explain why working 
people are unwilling to join in worship with us. We 
may not hector them like the lady from the Hall, 
conscious that she devotes to them far more of her 
Christian graces than they deserve; we may not force 
upon them the kindly meant but intrusive fault-find- 
ing of the district-visitor, who knows so much better 
than they do how they ought to order their lives; we 
may, in fact, cultivate unusual gentleness in our man- 
ners toward them, unusual readiness in shaking thel)' 
hands, and in every way demonstrating our goodwill ; 
and yet, and all the more in consequence of our 
strained amiability, not avoid letting them know that 
we regard ourselves as superior people. It is this 
that galls and makes working people — when their 
bread does not depend upon it, as it often does in 
rural parishes — refuse to go to any place of worship 
filled with people who consider themselves their social 

"If therefore, the Free Churches really wish to 
bridge the yawning gulf which is separating them 
from the working classes, they must allow no doubt 
as to their maintenance of the Democratic Ideal. Still 
more must they show it in practice. They must, as 
Churches, produce not only types of the true indi- 
vidual, but also of the true social life. The home gor- 
geously furjiished and carefully hedged in must give 
way to simDlicity of living. The children of the 
Church must be all educated together; there must, 


in fact, be an end of class and caste distinction. Mam- 
mon-worship must go, and Fashion-worship, as well 
as the cult of that smug little god — Respectability. 
Not only the idols of the market, but also the idols of 
the fireside, all must go if the Free Churches are to 
become what they ought to be — the germs of a City 
of God, the righteous society to whom God has 
given the inheritance of the whole world of Nature 
and of Grace." 

There were 256 religious bodies in the United States in 
1936 and the census missed some. But let us not lose per- 
spective in our senseless worry. Protestantism then consti- 
tuted about 23 percent of the population of the United 
States but its innumerable sects much less than one per- 
cent. Moreover, the American religious cults from 
Swedenborgians and Shakers and Spiritualists to Mor- 
mons and Christian Scientists and the latest varieties in 
1936 constituted less than one percent of the population 
of the United States. 

If disunity of Christianity guarantees its doom today, 
why did it not prevent the Christian Church from getting 
started at all? At Corinth, there were three or four 
schisms before A.D. 60. 

Patrick has very truthfully written: 

'Abs^'lute conformity of opinion never existed in 
the Church; if it did, it would be the death of religion 
. . . Heresy is -i strong testimony that spiritual ail- 
ments are as real as physical evil. . . That which cre- 
ates no antagonism creates no enthusiasm. The 
dream of a united church, of a vast body of men 
inarching under the same banner for the conquest of 
evil with discipline perfect, with ranks unbroken, 
armed from age to age with the same weapons evei* 
repeating the same watchwords with monotonous ac- 
cent is a dream which has always exercised a natural 
fascination which disappears before the cold light 
of history." 

By the time of Celsus, the variations within Christi- 


anity were so numerous that this vigorous critic of second 
century Christianity could write in his "Logos Alethes." 

"In truth, their divisions are endless. They have 
carnal and spiritual men. Some who call themselves 
Christians wish to live in all things like Jews. There 
are among them Sibyl lists and Simonians, Marcel- 
lians, Harpocratians, disciples who call themselves 
after Mariamne and Martha and Marcionites . . . 
Moreover, these persons utter against one another 
dreadful blasphemies, saying all manner of things 
shameful t) be spoken; nor will they yield in the 
slightest point for the sake of harmony, hating each 
other with a perfect hatred. . . . But you may hear all 
those who differ so widely and assail each other in 
their disputes with the most shameless language, 
uttering thj wO'ds, 'The world is crucified to me and 
I the world.' 

"So bitter was the hostility of the Catholics toward 
the dissenting but even more scrupulous Montanists 
that they refused to recognize them when suffering 
martyrdom in the same arena: 'When those called to 
martyrdom from the church for the truth of the faith 
met with any of the so-called martyrs of the Phrygian 
(Montanist) heresy they separated from them and 
died without any fellowship.'" 

Nationalistic Christians are not a twentieth century in- 
novation. They existed long before the Protestant Reform- 
ation and were cultivated on a grand scale by most of the 

Immanuel Kant's judgment upon Christianity should 
spare the contemporary Christian some gloom. It is from 
"Religion within the Limits of Reason alone": 

"So from this period to the time when Christendom 
could furnish a learned public of its own, its history 
is obscure and we remain ignorant of what effect the 
teaching of Christianity had upon the morality of its 
adherents — whether the first Christians actually were 
moral men or just people of the common run. At any 


rate, the history of Christendom, from the time that 
it became a learned public itself, or at least part of 
the univer3al learned public, has served in no way to 
recommend it on the score of the beneficent effect 
which can be expected of a moral religion. 

"For history tells how the mystical fanaticism in 
the lives of hermits and monks, and the glorification 
of the holiness of celibacy, rendered great masses of 
people useless to the world ; how alleged miracles ac- 
companying all this weighed down the people with 
heavy chains under blind superstition ; how with a 
liierarchy f n'cing itself upon free men, the dreadful 
voice of orthodoxy was raised, out of the mouths of 
presumptuous exclusively 'called' Scriptural exposit- 
ors, and divided the Christian world into embittered 
parties over credal opinions on matters of faith (upon 
which absolutely no general agreement can be reached 
without appeal to pure reason as the expositor) ; how 
in the East, where the state meddled in an absurd 
manner wif:h the religious statutes of the priests and 
with priestdom, instead of holding them within the 
narrow confines of a teacher's status (out of which 
they are at all times inclined to pass over into that 
of ruler) — how, I say, this state had finally to become, 
quite inescapably, the prey of foreign enemies, who 
at last put an end to its prevailing faith; how, in the 
•^lere faith had erected its own throne, inde- 
pendent of worldly power, the civil order together 
with the sciences (which maintain this order) were 
thrown into confusion and rendered impotent by a 
self-styled viceroy of God ; how, both Christian por- 
tions of the world became overrun by barbarians, 
just as plants and animals near death from some dis- 
ease, attract destructive insects to complete their 
dissolution; how, in the West, the spiritual head 
ruled over the disciplined kings like children by 
means of the magic wand of his threatened excom- 
munications, and incited them to depopulating for- 
eign wars in another portion of the world (the Cru- 


sades), to the waging of war with one another, to 
the rebellion of subjects against those in authority 
over them, and to bloodthirsty hatred against their 
otherwise-minded colleagues in one and the same uni- 
versal Christendom so-called ; how the root of this dis- 
cord, which even now is kept from violent outbreaks 
only through political interest, lies hidden in the 
basic principle of a despotically commanding eccles- 
iastical faith and still gives cause for dread of events 
like unto these — this history of Christendom (which 
indeed could not eventuate otherwise if erected upon 
an historical faith), when surveyed at single glance, 
like a, might well justify the exclamation: 
tanfum rcUgio potuit suadere malonnn. 


On completing the reading of "Can Christianity Save 
Civilization", we turned again to the "Census of Religious 
Bodies : 1936" and discerned that churches die very slowly. 
The Genc-ral Six Principle Baptist had only 293 members 
in 192t>. But instead of quitting they enjoyed a net gain 
of "one" during 1926-1936. The Seventh Day Baptists 
(German, 1728) had 304 m 1926. They carry on with only 
201 in 1936. I fear they'll be around in 1956. The Shakers 
have endured since 1774 among us. They were down to 92 
members in 1936 and 1 had predicted their demise before 
1926. The Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists 
could report only 201 in 1936. I give them to 1966. The 
Plymouth Brethren instead of vanishing have added "VII" 
and "VIII"— there's vitality. Number "VI" has only 34 
in the entire denomination. And remember that the 
**House of God, Holy Church of the Living God, the Pillar 
and Ground of Truth, House of Prayer for All People" 
has now put in an appearance and already boasts 200 
members. The Pentecostal Assemblies have grown to 
eleven bodies within a decade. "Triumph the Church and 
Kingdom of God in Christ" is here with two churches and 
69 members. Only 9 of the 213 denominations of 1926 
disapp.'ared before 1936. But 52 new denominations 


emerged, giving a grand total of 256. Does that look like 
religion's last will and testament? 

Some years ago an industrious student handed me the 
following from a letter of Charles L'Allemont to his 
brother Jerome, 1627 (Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, vol. 4, 
p. 201). The Indians referred to were a tribe of Algon- 

"At the feasts which are given in honor of the 
death of some one, they set aside a part for the de- 
ceased as well as for the others, which they throw 
into the fire ; they are ver>' careful that the dogs shall 
not share in this feast, and to this end they gather up 
all the bones and throw them into the fire. They bury 
the dead and with them all their belongings, such as 
candlesticks, fuis, knives, etc. WTien I asked an old 
man one day why they placed all this baggage in the 
grave, he replied that they did so in order that the 
deceased might use it in the other world; and when I 
answered him that when anyone looked into the grave 
all the baggage was seen there which was a proof 
that the deceased did not use it, he replied, that in 
truth the body of the kettles, furs, knives, etc. re- 
mained, but that the soul of the kettles, furs, knives, 
etc. went off to the other world with the deceased and 
that he made use of them there." 

The Jesuit missionary did not observe that the faith of 
the American Indian regarding his dead was identical 
with his own regarding transubstantiation. Indeed, he 
rather criticized it as not confoiTning to the evidence in 
the case. Now both this Indian faith and this Catholic 
faith existed in Eg>-pt centuries and centuries before the 
Christian era. Precisely the same assumptions with very 
different applications have in this instance persisted for 
some five millennia. But the Egj-ptian might smile at the 
Catholic as he smiled at the Indian. This is the way of 

In spite of the fears of our author, Christianity and 
civilization will still be here for some centuries to come. 


And we hope, in much improved form. Philosophers might 
find it to their profit to push their arm-chairs at least to- 
ward the desk of history for a tete-a-tete. Some of their 
pessimism would disappear and most of their all-too-thin 
optimism would vanish. Historical perspective should 
enable ministers to go about their tasks with joy. The 
only trouble with ministers is that they will not read his- 
tory. And therefore they are taking overdoses of catas- 
trophe. Jeremiah turned optimist in the presence of doom. 


By Convin C. Roach 
Bexley Hall, Gambler, Ohio 

I have ventured in the title of this article to attack one 
of the most firmly entrenched dogmas of Liberal Prot- 
estantism in regard to the interpretation of the Bible. 
Simpson in the foreword to Mijth and Ritual (p.xff ) puts 
the blame for this type of thinking upon "the continental 
Protestant scholar of the prejudiced type" admitting that 
while English critics have not followed it to the bitter end, 
"it would seem that some have gone considerable distance 
farther than there was any justification for going". Two 
examples, one English and one American will suffice. 

McFadyen, Message of Israel, in his chapter on "Proph- 
et and Priest," symbolizes this supposed antagonism in 
the scene between Amos of Tekoa and Amaziah of Bethel 
and comments (p.l91) : "The whole development of Old 
Testament religion may be fruitfully conceived as a con- 
flict between these two conceptions of religion, a conflict 
which reaches its climax in the crucifixion of Jesus who 
'was arrested, condemned, martyred, murdered, by the 
official representatives of the religion of Jehovah'. While 
the prophets were preparing His oracles the priests were 
preparing His cross". McFadyen's quotation is from 
Westphal and Dupontet, The Laiv and the Prophets, 

Dean Sperry in his more recent Lyman Beecher Lec- 
tures, We Prophesy in Part, (p.2f.), repeats the familiar 
antithesis but carries it down past the Biblical period into 
the religion of the present day. "The task of perpetuating 
religion and of bringing it to perennial rebirth in history 
is committed to two men — the priest and the prophet. 
These two men appear at the dawn of every religion, or 
in the earliest hours of the day, and persist thereafter. In 
general the distinction between priest and prophet marks 
the contrast between Catholicism and Protestantism. For 
better or for worse. Protestantism has cast its lot with the 
prophetic type of religion." 


This then is the typical dogma of Liberal Protestantism 
in regard to the interpretation of the Bible. According to 
this neo-orthodoxy the history of the Hebrews is to be un- 
derstood as a struggle between prophet and priest and 
never the twain shall meet. The foiTner generally fighting 
on unequal terms, went down into glorious defeat some- 
time in the earlier post-exilic period yielding the victory 
to a priestly legalism. Yet the eclipse of prophecy was but 
temporal^, the triumph of priestcraft a Pyrrhic victory. 
Judaism by its rejection of prophecy had given itself a 
deathblow, for prophecy, coming to life again with St. 
John the Baptist, reasserted itself and in the person of 
St. Paul won the victory, abolishing the Law. Somehow, 
and the fact is disquieting to curious souls, the fruits of 
victory were obscured by the later Catholic Church and 
though here and there a prophet rose to give battle it 
was not until the Reformation that prophecy in the per- 
son of Protestantism was strong enough to engage priest- 
hood under the guise of Catholicism in a struggle that has 
continued ever since. On this theory the only part of the 
Old Testament with value for today is the prophetic 
canon, and the modern minister as the heir of the Hebrew 
prophet receives his inspiration and program from these 
writings. The Catholic priest is the Old Testament priest 
redivivits and shares in the same condemnation as his 
Hebrew^ namesake, or vice versa. 

The causes behind the foiTnulation of this theory would 
make an interesting subject of study. Perhaps one of 
the most important, if least rational, is the accidental 
indentification of Hebrew Kohen and Catholic priest and 
the transfer of the accumulated pi'ejudice of the latter to 
the former, St. Paul's own violent language may be in 
part responsible but it is well to bear in mind two things 
about the creative and original genius of the great apostle. 
He was not absolutely consistent or thoroughgoing in his 
denunciation of the Law nor is he a particularly good 
teacher and guide in matters of Old Testament exegesis. 
A third cause may be suggested, the fact that Biblical 
criticism began with the law, first undermining its integ- 


rity and antiquity and leaving the Prophets relatively un- 
touched so that students of the Bible have generally 
turned to the second canon with a sigh of relief not appre- 
ciating always that it is the second composition of the He- 
brew religious genius. 

Whatever the causes behind this common attitude of 
ours, the result has been that in our approach to the his- 
tory and religion of the Old Testament we have stressed 
a few prophetic high spots. The typical interpretation be- 
gins with Moses, in the words of McFadyen (p.l74) "the 
first and greatest of the prophets", yet he remarks "the 
priests, rightly or wrongly, trace back the tradition of 
their sacrificial ritual to him". McFadj'^en's implication is 
that they were probably mistaken as the prophets attri- 
bute an austere Puritanism to the great leader and there- 
fore he could have had nothing to do with the cultus. As 
a matter of fact the confusion is in the other direction. 
Moses was a priest first and last and his prophetic con- 
nections are a later importation. It is interesting to ob- 
serve that the Exodus itself whatever it may have been as 
a great social movement was inspired and motivated by 
a cultic purpose, the desire to hold a pilgrim feast to God, 
(Ex.5:l). Moses had intennarried into a priestly family 
and his activities as lawgiver and judge were essentially 
priestly. The covenant itself was made with sacrifice as 
Ps.50:5 acknowledges. That Moses could hardly have 
been a prophet seems clear when we observe that proph- 
ecy instead of being a desert phenomenon as formerly 
supposed, (cf.e.g. Cheyne: Enc. Bib. 3857), is now gener- 
ally held to have originated in the settled land and to have 
been mediated to the Hebrews by the Canaanites. 

The first and greatest of the prophets turns out to have 
been a priest. Undaunted we turn to the Hebrews in 
Palestine and we are prepared to witness the priests be- 
ginning their nefarious work of piling sacrifice on sacrir 
fice in the Canaanite mode with the prophets ever call- 
ing the people to repentance. True the prophets in their 
beginnings are characterized by queer ecstatic seizures 
closely akin to their Canaanite colleagues from whom in- 


deed they have received their prophetic phenomena; but 
we tell our students that between the ecstatics and the 
true prophets a great gulf is fixed, the only difficulty 
being that we do not know exactly where to make the 
break, an ignorance by the way which appears to have 
been shared by the pi'ophets themselves for ecstasj'' seems 
to have been the characteristic of the movement all 
through its history. 

We do not spend much time on the Judges, men loyal 
to Jahweh to the point of frenzy but at the same lime 
m«n strangely addicted to making images and offering 
sacrifices. Deborah the prophetess herself is reputed to 
have sat in judgment under a sacred tree. With Samuel 
we seem to be on firmer ground and yet even with him 
as McFadyen, (p. 175) points out the prophet is combined 
with the priest. As a matter of fact McFadyen has once 
more reversed the actual situation, for the truth is that 
Samuel was priest and not prophet. All the functions 
which he exercised were priestly. He was the custodian 
of. the shrine of the ark at Shiloh as a youth. In his ma- 
turity he is represented as presiding over the feasts of his 
home town. His function as a diviner and revealer of 
God's will is also characteristic of the priest. A quotation 
from Gray, Sacrifice in the Old Testament (p.ll9f.) 
makes this clear, "the functions of the priesthood were far 
from limited to sacrificial duties: an equal or greater de- 
mand was made upon their time by other duties which 
may be broadly classified under the teaching function of 
the priesthood. . . . The priesthood especially in pre-exilic 
Israel, was one of the most important organs of revela- 
tion. Altered by the later association of the term, it is easy 
to over-estimate its teaching function. On the other hand, 
when we turn back to the early narratives, so inconspic- 
uous is the association of priests with sacrifice, and so 
readily does sacrifice appear to be performed without 
priests, and so far more conspicuous is the position of the 
priest as organ of revelation, that a possibly too violent 
reaction from the traditional view is not unnatural, and 
it has even been suggested that the Hebrew priest had 



originality only teaching and no sacrificial functions". In 
other words, Samuel is credited with all three of the major 
functions of the priesthood and although he advises Saul 
to ally himself with the prophetic bands, he himself re- 
mains a sober respected seer, in other words a priest. It 
is curious that in our ordinarj^ criticism of Samuel and 
Saul we should praise the priest and condemn the proph- 
et although the latter perhaps a little unfairly. 

When we come to Elijah we have a character who is 
gererally regarded as a pure type of prophet, the great 
enemy of the cultus, but it is again disquieting to note 
with McFadyen and others that his most striking act 
centers around an altar which he rebuilt and upon which 
he offered sacrifice. The new advance made by Elijah 
began with the restoration of a ruined altar just as Moses 
broke the power of the Egyptian Pharaoh by demanding 
the right to celebrate the ancient nomadic feast. So 
Johnson, Expository Times, XLVII, p. 314, has a strong 
argument on his side when he maintains, "obviously the 
whole story reflects a rivalry between two different cults, 
the prophets in each case being the leading cultic offi- 
cials". This is quite a different interpretation from the 
one we generally give our students of Elijah, the lone 
prophet. As a matter of fact the individualism of the 
prophets has been overstressed even for the greatest of 
them. The Horeb experience is the answer not only to 
Elijah's protest but to most of our idealizations. There 
were 7,000 other Jahweh men in Isreal as good as Elijah. 
There was a successor to be chosen to carry on his work 
and when we look at Elisha we see him on the one hand 
the head of a great theological seminary as well as closely 
connected with the Mt. Carmel sanctuary (II. Ki. 2:25, 4:25) 
where he is available for consultation particularly on the 
feast days (II. Ki. 4:23) when sacrifices were presumably 
offered. McFayden's suggestion (p. 159) that the prophet 
presided over some simple worship service devoid of sacri- 
fice is without evidence to support it and seems quite im- 
probable in view of the presence of a Jahweh altar on Mt. 
Cannel at which his master Elijah had offered sacrifice. 


Along with the so-called individualism of the prophet 
is his supposed amateur standing. I quote from Dean 
Sperry (p. 14), for convenience, "Our next statement about 
the Hebrew prophets is disquieting. They were, with the 
exception of Ezekiel, laymen rather than clergymen. The 
authentic prophets dissociated themselves from the schools 
of the prophets as sharply as from the priests. The proph- 
et was the plain man, attacking the vested interests of 
shrines, temples and professional soothsayers". Men have 
to live even though they happen to be prophets. Amos had 
his herds and sycamore trees, Jeremiah had his family 
estates. Elijah and Elisha were not so fortunate. They 
were forced to live off the charity of the poor and the 
widows eked out by an occasional miracle. It would be an 
interesting study to investigate the sources of the proph- 
et's income but since the materials for such a study are 
scanty it were better not to argue from silence. The ma- 
jority of the prophets lived on the fruit of their prophecy 
just as the majority of the priests did on the results 
of their priesthood. A number in both categories abused 
the privilege as our records also show, one flagrant case 
being the seminarian Gehazi studying in the prophetic 
school of Elisha, who received a fit punishment for his 

Dean Sperry has confused two ideas, the professional- 
ism of the ancient religious leaders and their supposed 
clericalism. The latter term however is an anachronism 
when applied to the pre-exilic priesthood. It was more 
a function than an office. So Joshua who took care of 
the tent of meeting was neither a Levite nor a professional. 
Micah according to Jud.17 made his own son priest who 
evidently was no ordained clergyman because when a 
trained priest happened by, Micah was glad to hire him 
in the place of his son. Yet that does not necessarily 
mean that because Micah 's Levite had had special train- 
ing that he was in any sense clerical anymore than that 
a teacher of Bible who has taken advanced degrees be- 
longs to a teacher's union. That may come of course but 
at the present time it is just as much an anachronism as 


it is to apply the term "clergy" to the pre-exilic priest- 
hood. Later on priesthood was limited to a hereditary 
group, but in the early period this was not true. There 
were no ecclesiastics because there was no church, merely 
local shrines. A church did develop with the reforms of 
Josiah, but it is interesting to note that such a movement 
had the sanction of the prophetess Huldah whatever we 
say of Jeremiah's attitude toward it. It was under pro- 
phetic inspiration then at least in part that the free and 
independent local shrines were abolished in favor of an 
institutionalized religion centering in the Jerusalem Tem- 
ple and far from being clergymen these local priests were 
the rankest of non-conformists. 

Later on priesthood was limited to a hereditary caste 
but the genius of priesthood continued in a new group 
founded by a priest according to tradition, Ezra the 
scribe. The scribe, the student of the book, is the fore- 
runner of the Biblical Protestant just as the Pharisee is 
the spiritual ancestor of the Puritan (cf. Foakes-Ja6k- 
son: History of the Christian Church, p.llf.) Interest- 
ingly enough it is among these same rabbis and scribes 
that we find a strong prejudice against receiving pay, an 
attitude shared by the apostle St. Paul, also a Pharisee of 
the Pharisees. 

But we have left our course on the Prophets far behind 
and it is expedient that we return, this time with a sigh 
of relief to Amos the first literary prophet. The descrip- 
tion is not quite exact in light of the fact that we have no 
proof that Amos wrote down a single word of his prophe- 
cies and further that he denies categorically that he had 
anything to do with the prophets. Perhaps we ought to take 
him at his word. At least Harper, Amos and Hosea, p.CIV, 
remarks "he exhibits the mood, the method and the motive 
of the sage". He also points out his relation to the priest- 
ly literature (p.CVIII). The sermon in chapter If. uses 
the same kind of delayed application as the wise woman, 
also from Teko, employed on occasion. Lindblom, Die 
literarische Gattung (p.74), in discussing these same 
chapters thinks they were influenced by the liturgical 


hymn style. "Amos may have often attended the liturgical 
services in the Jerusalem Temple." At least this priestly 
sage who objects to being called a prophet was more than a 
"" as we sometimes erroneously suppose. Amos 
is the outstanding character we all realize him to be be- 
cause he represents a fusion of the earlier seer with the 
ecstatic. This combination according to Mowinckel cited 
by Johnson (p.313) is what constitutes the cult prophet. 
T. H, Robinson: Expositor, vol. XXI, p.220, regards the 
fusion as characteristic of the ordinary prophets. I per- 
sonally do not feel that the distinction between cult and 
canonical prophet can be given any real significance. 

If Amos denounces the cult of Bethel, he is equally 
vituperative in regard to the culture of Canaan, a fact we 
often strangely neglect. He may be the prophet of jus- 
tice. He is also the prophet of destruction. We turn to 
the more comforting rrtessage of Hosea who strikes us as 
more pastor and preacher. It is interesting to note that 
some scholars have thought of him as a priest (Harper: 
Amos and Hosea, p.CXLII) and others have supposed 
that he actually married a temple prostitute. At least 
Hosea, indeed like most of the prophets, condemns both 
prophet and priest and by his very condemnation of the 
latter group shows the high place they were meant to oc- 
cupy as guides and teachers of the people (4:5ff). Micah 
reiterates the message of Amos although the best passages 
we generally reluctantly admit are glosses. Isaiah the 
greatest of the four is the prophet of man's humility and 
God's lioliness but we do not always appreciate that the 
vision of God's holiness came to the prophet in the Temple, 
Indeed as McFayden (p.l72) admits, citing Hempel, the 
type of piety which underlies the prophetic experience has 
important features in common with that which underlies 
the cult. To both God was "the Holy One", at once distant 
and near. It is the idea of holiness, essentially a cult term, 
which is the key word of Isaiah's commission and lies 
at the basis of his message. It is interesting to note also 
how many of Isaiah's discourses seem to have been given 
at the feasts. 


We turn a century to Jeremiah and see in him the out- 
standing exponent of inwardness and individualism in re- 
ligion. His relations to the Josian book and the reform 
based upon it are hard to fathom and yet it is not without 
significance that his patrons, the house of Shaphan, wel'e 
strong advocates of the prophetic-priestly compromise em- 
bodied in the book found in the Temple and sanctioned 
by a prophetess. The remarks of Welch, Prophet and 
Priest, p.47f., on Jer. 7:21f. are worth reading: "This did 
not imply that the religion which Moses founded and 
which Jeremiah believed himself to represent was hostile 
to or even incompatible with, all outward acts of worship. 
It would be peculiarly inept to father such a position on 
Jeremiah since he urged upon the exiles in Babylonia the 
practice of prayer, which is definitely a cult-act. The pro- 
phet was speaking to, and dealing with, a peculiar sit- 

That raises the question of the general prophetic atti- 
tude toward the cultus. McFadyen, after citing scholars 
on both sides of the issue, sums up his own position (p.l70), 
"the facts seem to justify the conclusion that the pre- 
exilic prophets were not necessarily hostile to the cult 
as a whole, but only or chiefly to that phase of it which 
involved the taking of animal life". It is questionable 
whether this is a correct statement of the case. Gray 
(p.43), remarks: "It is not clear indeed that all the pro- 
phets had won so clear of the conservative instinct that 
they would, even if they could, have overthrown all the 
local altars of their time; we know that Elijah quite on 
the contrary mourned their overthrow; still less have we 
ground to think that Isaiah, let us say, would have over- 
thrown the altar and stopped the sacrificial service at 
Jerusalem. They were prepared to tolerate, and even 
themselves make use of, these ancient institutions of 
reli'^ion, if only the people would not abuse them by 
giving them a place in life that Yahweh never intended 
them to have. Practically however, their attitude towards 
sacrifice, even unabused sacrifice, is at best one of indiffer- 
ence'., .- Two more recent discussions have appeared, 
Oesterley, Sacrifices in Ancient Israel and Guillaume 


Prophecy and Divination. The former after a careful in- 
vestigation of the prophetic pronouncements on sacrifice 
comes to the conclusion that only Jeremiah among the pre- 
exilic prophets advocated the entire abolition of sacrifice 
(p.207). It would be an interesting thought that it 
should be the country priest Jeremiah who should stand 
out as the single anti-sacrificial prophet. Guillaume how- 
ever goes beyond Oesterley to include Jeremiah with tho 
rest as not anti-sacrificial, (p.347 and see his Excursus 
A.) Probably the truth lies somewhere between the re- 
served statement of Gray and these more extreme posi- 

Just about here our course on the prophets begins to 
peter out. Ezekiel is a queer one and we realize with a 
£igh of relief that after all he was a priest and that ex- 
plains a lot. We have the great prophet of later Judaism, 
Second Isaiah, and McFadyen turning to him remarks 
that this prophet certainly betrays nothing like Ezekiel's 
interest in the Temple. This is not to be wondered at if 
we suppose with Torrey that the Temple had long been 
rebuilt. In reality there is a surprising number of pas- 
sages in Second Isaiah which are ritualistic in character. 
The only other post-exilic prophet worthy of notice is 
Jonah whose book is not a collection of prophecies at all 
but a satire in the foiTn of a short story hitting such con- 
temporary nationalistic prophets as Joel and Obadiah. 
Haggai and Zechariah have become side-tracked in the 
problem of rebuilding the Temple and the later Malachi 
is just as bad, his best text being concerned merely with 
the ritual, (1.11). The prophets are finished and gone and 
the last references to them are unfavorable (Neh. 6:10-14, 
Zech. 13:2) A few bits of apocalypse are left to tide us 
over until we can talk of the reappearance of prophecy in 
St. John the Baptist. Sic fi'ansit gloria mundi. Johnson 
(p. 316) has the interesting theory that the prophets 
were discredited because of their false messages of peace 
and were degraded to the Levitical level in definite sub- 
jection to the priesthood, a theory all the more plausible 
if we suppose that the great mass of the prophets had 


never been very far removed from the cultus all along, 
(cf. Guillaume, p.310f.) 

Dean Sperry (p.58ff.) compares the Christian Prophet 
with his Hebrew predecessor. The Christian "is not the 
dominating figure that his predecessor was in the eighth 
century B.C. He is already a 'member of a firm'. He 
jostles shoulders with apostles, evangelists, pastors and 
teachers. He divides both his influence and his authority 
with deacons, presbyters and bishops. . . . The scene is a 
busy one calling for more than one kind of spiritual craft, 
and there are workmen scattered through the rising struc- 
ture doing many different things, each of which contrib- 
utes to the whole". This observation is of course equally 
true of the times of the pre-exilic prophets as Jer. 18:18 
bears witness and in addition to prophet, priest and sage, 
related more or less intimately to them, were all the other 
counsellors and diviners, enchanters and sorcerers later 
proscribed. Hebrew religion no more than Christianity 
can be understood by selecting one to the exclusion of the 
other types of religious leader. Indeed neither in Juda- 
ism or in Christianity can they be disentangled. Dean 
Speriy (p.3) who maintains that Protestantism should 
remain true to its choice of the prophet remarks "we have 
one life to live and we cannot afford to waste it in a thin 
religious cosmopolitanism", but this is to damn with an 
adjective and to fail to realize that just as prophet and 
priest were necessary complements in the eighth century 
B.C. so they were also in the first century A.D. and so 
perchance both may be needed today no matter by what 
names we may call the exercisers of these necessarily 
mutual ministries. 

I have not meant to caricature the ordinary treatment 
of the Old Testament but to point out how easy it is for 
us to be guilty of an uncritical and often unconscious 
selectivity taking just those facts which suit our theories 
or our preconceived notions. If we approach the Old 
Testament without fear or favor and not make of the 
Hebrew priest a scapegoat for our inherited prejudices 
we shall see how blunt an edge there is to this supposed 
contrast between prophet and priest. The difference be- 


tween prophet and priest is not to be found in their func- 
tion, origin, degree of clericalism, professionalism or indi- 
vidualism. It is not to be found in the members of the two 
groups, in their message or the religious background from 
which they sprang. Prophecy is not anti-ritualistic. U 
is not anti-priestly. It denounces false priests, but in the 
same breath and with equal vigor false prophets. On the 
other hand the priestly handbook the Psalter is as "pro- 
phetic" in tone as any prophet. Gray (p.224) remarks on 
this question of prophet and priest, " the distinction is 
not to be gauged by any mere comparison of the terms 
'law' and 'word' nor even of the subjects with which they 
dealt, as though the priests were teachers of litual, the 
prophets of morality, for the priests. . . . were charged 
with moral teaching. The difference lies rather in the 
manner of experience. The prophet spoke out of individ- 
ual, direct personal experience; the priest out of the 
stored wisdom and collective experience of his class. The 
great personalities are to be sought among the prophets; 
the living force in times of crises is theirs; but the main- 
tenance of a permanent ethical and religious tradition, 
which needed at times, no doubt, vivifying by direct law 
and challenge of the prophet, was the task of the priest". 
It is to the priest that Dean Sperry unwittingly turns 
when he considers the question of prophecy's validation. 
He rejects the fundamentalist's test by the Bible. The 
proof of history is too long delayed to be of immediate 
value. It is the common sense of the Church, the present 
community which is his ultimate witness to the truth. 
Yet this is essentially a recourse to the priests, those who 
possess the traditions garnered from the past and who 
indoctrinate the community in turn. It may be that sacri- 
fice and its modern counterpart, the sacrament, are not 
a substitute for such necessary instruction, but the most 
effective method of imparting it. At least this is the main 
thesis of Welch's stimulating little book. Prophet and 
Priest. Goudge, Church and the Bible, sums it up in a 
sentence "Had there been no prophecy we should not care 
to read the story of Israel ; had there been no priesthood, 
there would be no storv to read". 


A Letter From China 

We are taking the liberty of publishing extracts from 
a letter recently received from a friend who is serving on 
the faculty of the University of Nanking now located at 
Chengtu, Szechwan, China, Distance has made it impos- 
sible to secure the writer's permission to publish his com- 
munication, but we assume he will not object, and we are 
confident that our readers will find his description of 
events in that distant part of the world intei esting. The 
letter, in a somewhat abbreviated form, follows : 

After the some three hundred air raids London has had 
this summer and fall, our five small raids in the city of 
Chengtu seem as nothing. Yes, w^e caught i^ four more 
times between July 24 and October 27. But we are thankful 
they have not been back since then in spite of gloiious 
sunny fall weather. As usual, the raids burned and demol- 
ished houses of the people and killed and wounded many 
civilians. Any military damage w^as practically zero. One 
Chinese coolie on the campus here gave the best statement 
when he said "if they hit me they will only shell bun 
(v/aste their money) ." 

When raids come we work until the "Urgent" sounds 
and then someone stays out in the yard to watch for the 
the planes. If it is lunch time, we proceed wit!i hr^ch on 
the i'ont lawn. We retire to the dugout (built like a 
Kansas cj'clone shelter) only when the Japanese flat bom- 
bers appear. After they pass w^e hurry the child* en out 
"to see the pretty w^hite things like birds against the sky," 
at ten or twelve thousand feet. By making a picnic out of 
it we have been able to keep the children from developing 
any fear — as well as keeping ourselves on an even keel. 

But when I went into the city after the last raid to see 
the damage that had been done, the mangled bodies of 
old women and others being rushed to hospitals on stretch- 
ers showed that it had been no "picnic" for some persons. 
Forty university students had already left the campus 


clinic to help by the time the "release" sounded. One med- 
ical student on a bicycle just ahead of me hopped off at 
each stretcher he met and administered first aid if the 
person had not already been attended to. Most of the peo- 
ple leave the city during the raid and walk out into the 
country so casualties are much less than they would 
otherwise be. Excepting for the duration of the alarm and 
the cleaning up after the raid, life goes on normally. 

I experienced some heavier raids while in Chungking 
last summer to attend the national conference of Chinese 
Industrial Cooperatives. But the meetings were held out- 
side the city and when in the city I was able to take shel- 
ter in the big underground cave at the University of Nan- 
king college of science. Chungking had settled into a 
"bombed-city-routine": early office hours, the day's raid, 
lunch, office hours and a peaceful evening. Once when 
we came out of the cave a little before the "release" 
sounded, as we looked at the crowds pouring out of caves 
across the river, Mr. Riggs, who was with me, remarked, 
"They look just like ants, don't they? What a world." 

Chinese Industrial Cooperatives are still going strong. 
It was inspiring to meet with their leaders from all over 
China in Chungking last summer. The group there set- 
tled down to the consideration of problems of how to 
carry on the work and paid much less attention to polit- 
ical matters than a year before. How to make the indus- 
trial cooperatives really independent business-units, how 
to make them successful in their business, and how to 
make them fully cooperative were questions squarely 
faced in group discussion and planning. A revised consti- 
tution for the societies, which I had a large part in draft- 
ing, was adopted. I learned considerable about these mat- 
ters from experiments with a ricksha cooperative and a 
wool-weaving cooperative in Nanking. With the great de- 
mand for trained men in war time and to carry out the 
reconstruction efforts in China, the Chinese Industrial Co- 
operative Association is now finding il difficult to secure 
sufficient trained personnel. Because of shortage of funds 
the Institute we told you about last year has not started 


yet. But it is to be included in a campaign for funds by 
the American Committee for Chinese Industrial Cooper- 
atives in America this winter. Meanwhile, this fall the 
University of Nanking is cooperating with C. I. A. in con- 
ducting a small training class. Next semester it is plan- 
ned to put this work on a regular college level. If we can 
train suitable personnel, the Chinese banks will loan funds 
to the cooperatives to finance their production of war- 
time necessities. 

In addition to the Institute, the University of Nanking 
is now duplicating the H. F. Small-Scale Carding and 
Spinning Set which we got from England this year. When 
made, these sets will be used by industrial cooperatives 
here and in the northwest in making finer grade wool 
cloth and blankets. Mr. Charles H. Riggs of the Univer- 
sity has studied the H. F. carding machine and has de- 
signed a simpler one which can be made from local ma- 
terials to use for coarser carding of wool. This simpler 
machine should be a big help in handling the part of the 
wool not susceptible to hand carding for the army blank- 
ets now being made by the cooperatives. Mr. Riggs is 
also working on improved looms made almost entirely of 
\vood. We have protected the H. F. Set from bomb frag- 
ments by two three-feet thick earthen walls built like 
Chinese spirit walls. Modern "evil spirits" are more dan- 
gerous than the old ones. 

Partly to set up studies of closely interrelated Chinese 
families in valleys near Jenshow in southern Szechwan 
and partly to conduct a retreat for the workers in the Gin- 
ling College Rural Experimental Center there, at the re- 
quest of Miss Irma Highbaugh (formerly at Changli, 
Hopei), I went to Jenshow for a week in September. I 
found that the center is working toward ways of helping 
country women to improve their home life through the 
resources and leadership available in the local rural com- 
munity. Too many "model" villages of rural experiments 
have depended upon importing into the community a 
large number of trained personnel. That means the re- 
sults are not susceptible of application in the over 1900 


counties in China. The Ginling Group are seriously try- 
ing to avoid this error. The Canadian School for mission 
children, which was formerly in Chen.Ttn, is now safely 
nestling in the wooded valley at Jenshow hidden from 
Japanese bombers. I got the older boys there to fill out 
a Strong Vocational Interest Blank by way of a test of its 
use before adapting it to Chinese conditions for use with 
college students in a student counselling program I am 
helping to develop at the University of Nanking. The 
University of Nanking Rural Leaders Training School 
(started in Nanking by J. B. Griffin) and an agricultural 
extension center are also at Jenshow and finding the farm- 
ers very responsive. 

"What are China's prospects now?" "What effect does 
the European War have upon the war in China?" Last 
July when I was in Chungking the closure of the Burma 
Road and its significance that Ei-!fi:ln^nl was both backing 
down before the Japanese and shutting off aid to China 
cast a gloom over the Chinese leaders. But in the last 
week of September with the announcement of the Amer- 
ican embargo on scrap iron and oil to Japan and the new 
$25,000,000 loan to China, which made it quite certain 
England would re-open the Burma road, spirits in China 
zoomed upward again. When France collapsed in June, 
the pro-German and pro-Fascist clique in Chungking pro- 
claimed that Germany's way was the way for China. But 
the majority of Chinese leaders held on grimly to their 
faith in democracy and resistance to aggression. This fall 
they were saying, "We must continue to fight on. Look 
at France." And we who have watched the Chinese take 
terrible beatings and suffer untold hardships through 
three years' of war, have swelled with pride at the Chi- 
nese nation in comparison with activities of fifth-columns 
and resulting collapse of so many democracies in Europe. 
Now the Chinese think of the Japanese withdrawal from 
Nanning as symptomatic that the day has come when the 
withdrawals will be on the part of Japan and no more by 
China, until once more their "good earth" is cleared of 
the hated and cruel invader. 


What can the United States do to help China nov/ ? 
First, extend the embargo to inckide all war supplies to 
Japan. Second, give further loans to China for building 
the Yunnan-Burma Railway and establishing an air 
freight service from Burma to West China as well as for 
purchasing needed transport, industrial, and military 
equipm.ent. These loans should be on as liberal terms as 
possible rather than being almost on a "pay-as-you-go" 
basis like the first three were. 

Persons who were in Amei'ica during tlie closing Gays 
of June as France collapsed tell us that American opinion 
went through the same adaptation to the fact of modern 
aggression as ours did in the fall of 1937 at the Ja, ancoC 
onslaught on China. The conclusion is that no nation is 
safe until all are safe. For twenty \^ears we eschewed al' 
forais of collective security because it would "involve ur>". 
Now we Americans are involved in a big defense pr'gram 
which far outdistances in cost all relief bills at the height 
of the depression. And yet public opinion rejoices in this 
expenditure, all of which goes into destruction, althougli 
the same public thought efforts to provide better homes 
for people who were living in slums was "needless extrav- 
agance." All of which means that around the Atlantic 
as well as on this side of the Pacific, hundreds of millions 
of people are committed or driven by invasion to lowering 
their standard of living through warfare rather than rais- 
ing it by agreeing to live together in peace in a civilized 
way under a world community government. TJ-^less we 
learn this lesson, present wars will be in vain. 

This lowering of the standard of living by the war is 
no mere academic matter in China and Japan today. Here 
in Chengtu this fall the retail price index has skyrocketed 
from 400 in August to 700 now. That is, retail prices 
now are seven times what they were when we arrived 
here two years ago. (Index based on spring, 1937, as 100 
but no rise until fall, 1938.) At the end of October this 
year the wholesale price index stood at 897 which means 
that retail prices will probably continue to rise. But the 
fact that the Chinese dollar has fallen lower in its pur- 


chasing power now than its exchange value has should 
mean a stopping of the price rise. 

When you realize that the price of rice (Chinese staple 
food) has risen from C3.50 per tou (30 pounds) a year 
ago to C$26.00 you can readily see what this means to the 
people. (The ton I referred to a year ago contains ten tou, 
and now costs C$210.00). An individual requires from 
one to 1.5 tou of rice per month.) According to the "iron 
law of wages", wages are forced down to a minimum that 
will maintain the existence of the worker. As a result of 
the "iron law of wages" working in reverse, the working 
class in China has had to have its wages raised as rapidly 
as the price of rice went up or starve. But the educated 
classes have not fared so well. As a result, some of the 
younger staff of our University with three or four chil- 
dren are hardly receiving enough salary to buy rice to say 
nothing of vegetables, eggs, clothing and other necessities. 
Government universities can justify this serious reduction 
in the standard of living of their staff as a necessity in 
war time. But mission schools with support from Amer- 
ica can hardly claim this justification. 

People in New York City who are raising funds for 
Christian Colleges in China write that the "emergency 
appeal" has worn out. Here is a new "emergency" in 
which one missionary has cried out in anguish, "How 
much longer are we going to have to let our Chinese staff 
starve?" None are actually starving but the effects of 
malnutrition are already apparent. A diet without eggs 
or vitamin foods for young growing children will soon 
have its effects. 

Because missionaries in most missions have had all or 
part of the increase in the exchange value of the Amer- 
ican dollar (now five times pre-war exchanges or $17.00 
to U. S. $1.00) they have not suffered and have been able 
to contribute either to help the work of their institutions 
or to relief funds for their Chinese comrades. But now 
the problem is beyond such measures because the Western 
staff is so much smaller than the Chinese staff. If you 
want to help China, help all mission boards to raise their 


funds contributed to China to a point where a Chinese 
staff can be maintained in health and at least a minimum 
of what we call "decency", i. e., clothed, housed, and able 
to educate their children. In this crisis facing the edu- 
cated and middle classes in China, we may have to fall 
back a little from our ideal of "self-support" by Chinese 
churches, schools and hospitals. They are now needed 
more than ever, so a reduction in service in order to pay 
fewer staff satisfactorily would mean a net loss to the 
Chinese community in terms of religion, education and 
medical care. 

Weekly fellowship meetings with our Chinese faculty 
and monthly meetings in our home in Chengtu bring us 
pretty close to their problems. In a world that is as torn 
by war as ours is we must all try to realize how dark the 
outlook is for the other fellow and do what we can to 
cheer his days until we can re-establish the rule of reason 
and justice on this globe of ours. 

Florida Ministers' Week 

Florida Southern College invited all ministers of Flor- 
ida to attend a series of lectures on the campus during the 
week of January 5-9, 1941. Two courses of lectures were 
offered, one by Bishop G, Bromley Oxnam and the other 
by Dean Shirley Jackson Case, Bishop Oxnam also 
preached the sermon on Sunday morning and spoke 
briefly at the ten o'clock chapel service each week-day 
morning. Dean Case lectured each afternoon and Bishop 
Oxnam each evening. All of the exercises on Monday 
through Thursday were held in the new Annie Pfeiffer 
chapel of the college. Bishop Oxnam's general subject 
was "The Ethical Ideals of Jesus in a Changing World^ 
and Dean Case's theme was "Christianity in a Changing 


Lectures by Dean Case 

Following is a summary of the lectures by Dean Case: 
Lecture I: Christianity — Is It Changeless or Changing? 


All of the customary stabilities of our modern life are 
threatened by change. The industrial order is in a state 
of flux. Economic conditions are uncertain. There is 
great unrest in the political sphere. The status of for- 
eign commerce is imperiled. Many citizens are still in 
doubt about how they will be able in future to earn a 
livelihood. Thousands of the young men of the country 
are wondering whether or not they will have to go to war. 
And the international situation is utter chaos. The world 
today is faced by the perplexing prospect of many unpre- 
dictable changes. 

Man does not relish the idea of constant change. He 
seeks stability and security. Of all our cultural acquisi- 
tions, religion has usually been the area in which the 
greatest degree of stability has been thought available. 
Christianity in particular, as ordinarily understood, has 
seemed to offer relief from the uncertainties of a chang- 
ing world. To many persons it is like a ship safely 
moored to its pier whither one may flee for asylum when 
storms are raging over the troubled world. But is not this 
a mistaken notion? Christianity, if it is the vital religion 
of real peoole, is subject to the same processes of growth 
that characterize every living thing. The only perpetual 
thing about life is the perpetuity of change, either growth 
or deterioration. One who embarks upon the Christian 
way of life finds himself voyaging upon the stormy high 
seas, not sheltered in a ship safely resting in harbor. 

Changes within Christianity appear conspicuously in 
the fact that this religion presents itself in many varieties 
of form. Already by the middle of the first century there 
were three different types of Christianity current in the 
ancient world. The Jerusalem community led by James 
insisted that a new religion was subject to the legal re- 
quirements of Judaism. Paul, on the other hand, estab- 
lished a Christianity entirely divorced from Jewish legal- 
ism. But Peter and Barnabas shrank from either of 
these extremes and founded churches, such as that at 
Antioch and Rome, that adhered to a new type of Chris- 
tian legalism. 


In the second century new differentia emerged. The 
Roman branch of Christianity cultivated its interest in 
legalistic regularity, while the churches in Asia Minor 
developed a mystical interest. In Egypt a Gnostic type 
of speculation gained currency, and even when the ex- 
treme Gnostics were rejected, Christian leaders like Cle- 
ment of Alexandria and Origen made knowledge a central 
item in their conception of religion. Then, in Phrygia, 
still another Christian group revived early interest in the 
spontaneous operations of the Holy Spirit and founded 
the Montanist Christian denomination. There were now 
four Christianities contending with one another for first 
place in the world. 

The same process of diversification continued in succeed- 
ing centuries. Puritan groups, like the followers of Hip- 
polytus and Novatian at Rome, and the Donatists in North 
Africa, established independent organizations. The Arian 
and the Athanasian branches of Christendom were bitter 
rivals during the fourth century. In the meantime Mon- 
asticism had arisen and continued to persist as a specific 
type of Christianity, And throughout the Middle Ages, 
although the Roman Catholic church maintained an ad- 
ministrative unity in the west, a variety of emphases per- 
petuated themselves in the monastic foundations and the 
different religious orders. In the east there continued to 
be numerous branches of Christendom sharply separated 
from one another by geographical as well as doctrinal dif- 
ferences. There were the Armenian, the Coptic and the 
Syrian churches, as well as Monophysite, Nestorian and 
Orthodox communions. 

The rise of Protestantism added further to the complex- 
ity. The Protestant churches were in agreement on the 
subject of rejecting the authority of the papacy but in 
other respects they went their several ways. They adapted 
different types of polity and did not always agree in their 
formulations of doctrine. They became civic or national 
establishments in different territories. The Lutheran 
churches in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, 
the Reformed churches in Holland, the Presbyterians in 



Scotland, and the Anglicans in England became clearly 
distinguishable types of Christianity. 

At the same time new separatist branches were arising. 
The Anabaptists and the Socinians had already come into 
being. And as the problem of the relation between church 
and state became more acute in Protestant countries the 
non-conformist sects gained prominence. Quakers, Con- 
gregationalists, Baptists, and other dissenting parties 
developed into strong denominational movements. With 
the growth of the democratic temper and the state's sui*- 
render of its right to supervise I'eligious activities, espe- 
cially in America, denominationalism grew by leaps and 
bounds. According to the United States census of 1936 
there were over two hundred and fifty different religious 
bodies existing in this country. 

Essential diversities have been further emphasized by 
the relative futility of attempts to effect unity among dif- 
ferent Christianities. Thoughtful people tend to regard 
these divisions as a scandal but the practical task of elim- 
inating them seems impossible. The program of per- 
suasion never has carried very far toward unification. Too 
often it turns into mere proselytism as one branch of 
Christendom claims to be the only true one while all 
others are pronounced spurious. The program of unity 
by force has sometimes succeeded in suppressing diversity 
by violence but persecution never can effect genuine agree- 
ment, and frequently it has simply resulted in the greater 
prosperity of the party it sought to crush. 

The saner procedure of councils and conferences has 
made more headway, but the results are still halting and 
inadequate. The fifteenth-century move to bring together 
the Catholic and the Orthodox churches proved abortive. 
The idea of a council to bring together the whole of Chris- 
tendom was entertained by early Protestant leaders, but 
it never was brought to realization even among the dif- 
ferent groups of Protestantism. In more recent times a 
few kindred Protestant denominations have effected or- 
ganic unity but no general movement of this sort is yet in 
evidence. The conferences held at Oxford and Edinburgh 


in the summer of the year 1937 dealt most seriously with 
the issue but accomplished no very positive results. 

The underlying difficulty that estops success seems to 
be failure to appreciate Christianity's genius for growth 
and change. Attempts are made to formulate a basis for 
union in terms of some fixed program of procedure, polity 
or doctrine derived from the past, as though these data 
had been a stable entity once for all time deposited in his- 
tory. The possibility of unity simply on the basis of 
further development in the actual process of religious 
living in the present and the future seems not to have been 
clearly envisaged. 

The fact that Christianity has always been a develop- 
mental religion, and must continue to be such, needs to be 
more fully appreciated. Christianity as a movement did 
not begin full-fledged at some specific moment, nor did it 
reach completion in any particular year in the past. It 
gradually emerged and is still in the process of becoming. 
It has taken on its varying contours and content under 
the changing social and cultural conditions under which its 
members have lived in difi'erent territories and at dift'erent 
times. It is essentially a way of life that must adjust it- 
self to the procedures and purposes that seem most worth- 
while to its adherents under the specific conditions of 
their day. Valuable heritages from the past and crucial 
demands of the present have to be fused into the new- 
vital forces that inspire the growth of the movement in 
each new ag^ of its existence. 

A vital Christianity for today must be as fluid as life it- 
self. It is still a quest for knowledge of God, but the 
understanding of what God means and how he becomes 
available for human needs has to be interpreted in terms 
of modern knowledge and experience. One believes in 
revelation but it must be apprehended by men, and their 
understanding of its content and meaning must be expres- 
sed in terms of current intelligence and culture. The reali- 
zation of human brotherhood is a persistent Christian 
ideal but the understanding of what may be involved in 
its realization grows with the development of knowledge 


and spiritual sensitivity. Thus Christianity is tl:o relig- 
ion of real people is a changing and developing quest rather 
than a finished attainment. And the establishment of the 
kingdom of God on earth is a human responsibility for the 
realization of which man has been divinely commissioned. 
It is an evolving task to be accomplished within the per- 
petuity of change that pervades every phase of life. 
Lecture II : Christianity as Church. 

Christianity has produced the churches. They have 
arisen as functional instruments for advancing and sei'v- 
ing the Christian cause. 

Every group that spontaneously advocates a cause pres- 
ently develops an institutional organization to implement 
its interests. It may be a political party, a college frater- 
nity, a society for preventing cruelty to animals, or some 
other desirable end that has come to be cherished by a 
group of persons. One of the first steps in the enterprise 
is to form an organization, A constitution and by-laws 
are adopted, the purpose of the institution is defined, and 
the condition on which members may be admitted are 
specified. With the growth of the movement the organi- 
zation is altered or enlarged to meet new conditions. At 
the outset the purpose of the institution is purely func- 
tional. It serves to give direction and momentum to the 
movement. It also insures permanence, since the organi- 
zation is able to carry on after its prophetic inspirers 
liave passed away. New advocates may be less brilliant 
but the power of the organization can supply the lack of 
outstanding leaders. It now begins to be popularly as- 
sumed that the institution is entitled to loyalty in its own 
right. The appeal of the cause is supplanted by the de- 
mands of the organization, until finally it is invested with 
infallible authority. The constitution of the United States, 
or the formal creed of a particular church, are no longer 
subjects on which one exercises a personal judgnient. They 
are infallible authorities to be accepted without question 
by a loyal citizen or a loyal member of a particular 

At first the Christian society was an informal and spon- 


taneous fellowship with no institutional machinery. No- 
body signed on the dotted line when he attached himself 
to the company of Jesus' disciples. The group had no 
prescribed ritual, no church polity and no formal rites of 
initiation. Jesus did not even continue the practice of 
baptism begun by John. When the followers of Jesus 
participated in the formalities of worship they attended 
a Jewish synagogue or visited the temple in Jerusalem. 

After the death of Jesus his re-assembled disciples who 
gathered in Jerusalem soon found it necessary to organize 
independent religious activities. They were no longer wel- 
come in the synagogues and in the course of time even at- 
tendance at the temple services became difficult. So they 
met in a private home where they worshipped the God of 
their fathers and prayed to the heaven-exalted Jesus. The 
occasion demanded the beginnings of a new religious or- 

The rise of gentile Christian congregations increased the 
demand for institutional regulation. Paul tried to con- 
vince his converts that they needed only the guidance of 
the Spirit to regulate the activities of their communities, 
but quarrels, diversity of opinions, and discordant voices 
soon proved that more explicit supervision was needed if 
the new congregations were to maintain their integrity. 
Their unity was threatened by the variety of opinions and 
Interests introduced through the addition of new converts 
drawn from diverse areas of contemporary culture. Belief 
and procedure needed more definition and more careful 

The new demand first emerged clearly in Asia Minor. 
At the outset the aft'airs of the congregation had been 
cared for by the older converts of the group who added 
this responsibility to their secular business of earning a 
livelihood. But the membership increased and the duties 
of leadership and direction multiplied beyond the capacity 
of the elders to attend to the business of the church. Then 
a younger man, who could devote all of his time to the 
work, was placed in charge. He was called the overseer, 
the "bishop", who administered his duties under the di- 


rection of the elders. In the course of time as he became 
older and more experienced, full responsibility devolved 
upon him, and episcopal government was thus instituted. 
Bishops rose to prominence at different centers and synods 
of bishops assumed to direct affairs for Christianity at 

When Constantine made Christianity an approved re- 
ligion in the Roman state he introduced into the church 
the governmental ideal of imperialism. Henceforth the 
church existed as an institution to serve the state through- 
out the Roman world. Constantine sponsored the first 
world-council of Christianity and thus provided an instru- 
ment to speak for the church in its entirety. In the east 
after the time of Constantine emperors maintained con- 
trol over the church and bishops ruled important centers 
like Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch and Constantinople as 
peers. There was no bishop of bishops. But in the west 
imperial rule gave way to the rise of the new barbarian 
kingdoms. The church remained the most enduring in- 
stitution in society and bishops had to assume responsi- 
bility for many secular concerns. All of the chief centers 
of Christianity except Rome declined and its bishop grad- 
ually assumed the leading role. 

The imperial ideal had broken down in the political 
sphere and only the church remained to maintain this way 
of thinking. The pope of Rome assumed supremacy over 
both church and state. He appointed Charlemagne "Holy 
Roman Emperor", and sometimes approved or criticized 
his successors in office. In some sections of the territory 
monarchical governments arose and with these popes had 
to deal. But it was assumed that the church was the sole 
instrument for implementing God's sovereignty over all 
of society, political as well as religious. The pope fought 
a losing battle with emperors and princes to maintain the 
supremacy of the church but it held fast to the imperial 
ideal of its authority even when it was forced to surrender 
its dominion over the affairs of state. 

The Reformation did not at first produce any essentially 
new conception of the church. It was still God's instru- 


ment for ruling the world, but the authority of the pope 
as God's vicegerent was rejected. In his stead Protestants 
installed the authority of scripture and ancient tradition. 
But no single spokesman for the church any longer 
existed. Unable to effect the reforms they had hoped to 
institute in Catholicism, the Protestants were forced to 
set up their own churches. Control over the whole of 
society proved impossible and often the patronage of kings 
or princes was found necessary to the very existence of 
the Protestant communities. They became established 
state churches in different countries. Thus the national 
ideal supplanted the imperial. 

Finding the control of secular affairs more and more 
beyond their reach, the Protestant churches devoted their 
attention more specifically to the religious sphere. Some 
of them renounced entirely connections with the govern- 
ment and became separatist institutions. They claimed to 
revert to the New Testament pattern of church, but their 
variations from one another only demonstrated how dif- 
ferently the scriptures were capable of being interpreted 
in the interests of modem concerns. The total result con- 
firmed the fact that the church has been a changing in- 
stitution as it has from time to time been reshaped to 
meet the needs of the people by whom it has been spon- 

Lecture III : Christianity as Dogma 

One general conception of religion is expressed in the 
idea of a church as a sacramental institution. Religion is 
then a procedure by which the Deity through the oper- 
ation of sacred rites does something to the devotee. He 
is redeemed, changed or even deified by the supernatural 
power of the sacrament to which he has been subjected. 
A different notion is that religion is the means by which 
man does something to God thereby to win the divine 
favor. By his correct belief and obedience the worshiper 
removes the obstructions that formerly blocked the down- 
ward flow of divine grace. God does not come to man 
through the sacraments but man pleases God by his obed- 


ience in keeping the sacraments which have been decreed 
by the Almiglity. Sacramental religion says, be saved 
and believe, the other type says believe and be saved. The 
latter represents the genius of Protestantism in con- 
trast with Catholicism. The former made faith the key 
to salvation. Thus belief took precedence over sacred rites, 
and the importance of a formally authorized system of 
doctrine was stressed. 

Man is by nature a credulous animal. In childhood he 
believes anything he hears. Gradually he develops reflec- 
tive and critical thinking, but having decided that a belief 
is true he affirms it to be valid for everybody. It now is 
a dogma to be taught to or superimposed upon others. 
Social groups follow the same process of development. 
They define their common beliefs and then impose them 
as normative thinking for all later members of the society. 
Both political and religious creeds soon acquire absolute 
authority. They become a crust over the social mind and 
any reformer who attempts to break through this crust 
does so at his own peril. In this atmosphere Christianity 
becomes dogma. Failure to believe the approved creed 
renders one liable to excommunication or execution. 

Dogma was not a fundamental interest of the first 
Christians. They took over automatically the beliefs of 
Judaism about God and the world, to which they added 
their new convictions regarding the resurrection and 
messiahship of Jesus. But this new^ faith was in the na- 
ture of an affirmation derived from experience rather than 
a doctrine needing to be supported by argument. Not 
doctrine but conduct was their primary concern. They 
sought to live in a way that was pleasing to God and to 
Jesus, and tried to persuade their neighbors to adopt the 
same manner of life. It was not so much their doctrine 
of messiahship as it was their conduct in calling upon 
the name of the Lord Jesus in prayer and in healings that 
aroused their enemies. 

The earliest incentive for speculative thinking was fur- 
nished by gentile converts who attached themselves to the 
Christian groups. Soon after the opening of the second 


century the traditional activities of the Christian societies 
were troubled by the introduction of strange notions car- 
ried over from popular gentile philosophy. The most 
troublesome of these ideas was the theory that matter was 
evil and only spirit was good. Persons entertaining this 
conviction expressed doubt about the physical reality of 
Jesus. He must have been only an apparition, for had he 
been actually a material body his pure spirit would have 
been contaminated. He had been a spirit-entity that had 
descended from the truly spiritual Deity in heaven. Some 
thinkers dwelt upon his function as the revealer of spirit- 
ual knowledge f^ee of material e^^-cnribe^ ances. In t'^eir 
hostility to evil matter some interpreters rejected the God 
of the Jews on the ground that he must have been an in- 
ferior or an evil divinity since he c eated the world of 
evil matter. 

These troublesome speculations forced the more stable 
Christians to formulate a creed ard Tmioose it nno'i the 
congregations. The Christian way of life required the 
reality of Jesus' fleshly body to insure the validity of the 
Lord's Supper and the retention of the Old Testament for 
instructional purposes. So a "rule of faith", as it was 
called, was formulated to affirm belief in the God who 
created the world and in the mate^ ial realitv of t^o body 
of Jesus from birth to resurrection. This was the formu- 
lation of dogma now commonly known as the Apostles' 
Creed, although it did not take shape until the second 
half of the second century. 

When Platonic and Stoic philosophers were converted to 
Christianity a vigorous boost was given to the develop- 
ment of speculative thinking. Popular Christianity wor- 
shiped two deities. God and Christ, and yet the new re- 
ligion claimed to be a pure monotheism. Converted philos- 
ophers attempted to show that this claim was logical. 
For this purpose they borrowed the Platonic notion of the 
absolute transcendence of the supreme Deity and com- 
bined with it the Stoic notion of the divine immanence. 
The Hebrew God was the transcendent Father while the 
pre-existent Christ, as son of God, was the immanent 


divine energy in creation and history. Sometimes they 
called Christ a "second" God, but more frequently they 
used the Stoic term "Logos" as his designation. Christianity 
was now, so they believed, logically monotheistic while ac- 
tually it revered both God and Christ. 

All might have been well if some theologians had not 
pushed logic too far. Arius said that Christ, although pre- 
existent and fully divine, could not be as old as the Father. 
There must have been a time in past eternity when the 
Son had not existed. But it might then follow that Christ 
was an interior deity and the sacraments performed in his 
name might lack the highest possible divine efficiency. 
This possibility the church could not allow. Thus arose 
the bitter controversy that the Nicene Council was sum- 
moned to settle in the year 325. In the interest of tradi- 
tional practice it affirmed, logic to the contrary notwith- 
standing, the full equality of Father and Son both in age 
and substance. Henceforth Christianity had a foiTnal 
dogma officially decreed by an ecumenical council. On fu- 
ture occasions other items of dogma were established by 
the same method. 

In western Christendom there was less interest in doc- 
trinal debates. Its mind was administrative rather than 
speculative, and was more concerned to enforce obedience 
to God's sovereignty than to cultivate intellecual curiosity. 
Augustine was the first westerner to pursue philosophical 
speculation in an aggressive way and he imported Neo- 
platonic mysticism into Christian doctrine. His successors 
employed the logic of Aristotle to validate Christian truth, 
until at last Thomas Aquinas adopted the natural philos- 
ophy of Aristotle. But reason and nature were both made 
to support revelation, and doctrine became a harmonious 
blending of both natural and revealed wisdom. 

Protestantism revived and heightened interest in dogma. 
The power of the papacy to authorize doctrine was denied 
and resort was had to the scriptures and antiquity. But 
these new authorities were not explicit, hence they needed 
to be interpreted and defined. Protestants therefore gave 
much attention to the task of recovering and formulating 


an approved body of beliefs. Each branch of Protestant- 
ism performed this work for itself, with the result that 
their official statements of doctrine were sometimes at 
variance with one another. Hence Protestant dogma was 
not a unit and there was no central authority to eliminate 
variations. The Lutheran, the Reformed, the Scottish, 
and the Anglican communions had their several official 

The rise of the new learning in the nineteenth century 
led liberal Protestants to abandon emphasis upon dogma. 
Religion became more a way of life than a mode of belief. 
Reason and experience took precedence over revelation 
and antiquitj^ while moral and spiritual values w^ere 
prized above doctrinal rigidities. Older beliefs were gen- 
erously rephrased, or were abandoned outright, in view 
of new ideas about nature, history and the Bible that were 
forced upon the theologians by the acquisitions of modern 
knowledge. Intellectual freedom demanded right of way 
in religious thinking as in all other areas of growing cul- 
tural development. 

The interruption of cultural interests by the world 
w^ar of 1914-18, and the disturbed state of society since 
that time, have stimulated a revival of authoritarian 
thinking in theology. Man's incompetency is stressed and 
the all-sufficiency of God is affirmed. Consequently an 
effort is made to reinstate the authority of revelation. 
Thus Christians are ever remaking their dogmas in the 
light of new experiences and environments. 
Lecture IV. Christianity as Social Gospel. 

The urge to expand over all the earth and to include 
every phase of life under its jurisdiction has long been 
characteristic of Christianity. It is naturally a social 
gospel. In this phase of its existence Christians recognize 
their responsibility for making their religion prevail in 
the w^orld. God's will has to be put into effect by human 
agents who have been charged with the task of bringing 
the kingdom of God to realization upon earth. If sacra- 
mentalism means that God does something to man, and 
correct dogma implies that man does something to God 


as a condition of procuring his favor, then the social gos- 
pel assumes that religious men must do something for 
God. They must evangelize the world. 

Social growth was a slow and uncertain process in 
early Christianity. At the outset the hope of redeeming 
the entile Roman world could hardly be entertained. The 
obstacles were too formidable and the world was too 
thoroughly steeped in wickedness to be saved. Presently 
it would be brought to a sudden end by the miraculous 
intervention of God. In the meantime the gospel was 
vigorously preached in order to rescue a few who might 
believe but the great majority of men were destined to 
travel the bioad road to destruction. 

As time passed Christians found themselves compelled 
to live generation after generation in the continuing evil 
world. Here they made a larger and larger place for 
themselves until finally their influence in society became 
dominant. They assumed increasing responsibility for the 
continuing social order. The necessity of earning a liveli- 
hood bi ought them into contact with ever widening circles 
of contemporary life. They gained economic stability as 
they earned their living in various callings. They adopted 
the Stoic doctrine that God had made a good woild to 
which Christians, as the chosen people of God, were en- 
titled. They stressed the dignity of labor and exemplified 
the ethical integrity of the Christian toiler. They learned 
to live more amicably with their non-Christian neighbors, 
thus wanning a larger measure of social lespectability. 

After a long period of suspicion, that sometimes flamed 
up in severe persecution, Christianity finally won recog- 
nition from the state under Constantine, and in less than 
another century it w^as made the only legitimate religion 
in the Empire. It had secured this privilege by affirm- 
ing that its God was the only divine protector who could 
insure the safety of the state. The Christian refusal to 
worship the old Roman gods had seemed to the persecutor 
to render them a menace to society because these deities 
were thought to be angered by neglect. Christians coun- 
tered with the defense that they prayed to their God for 


the welfare of the state and he would be its protector if 
allowed to perform this function. 

When the God of the new religion was adopted by the 
government it became a Christian duty to serve the state. 
The social responsibility of Christianity rapidly enlarged. 
The church extended its charities, it cared for exposed 
children, it secured better treatment for slaves and pro- 
tested against the gladiatorial shows, and bishops assumed 
supervision of such civic affairs as repair of aqueducts, 
distribution of grain doles, the holding of law courts, and 
other duties that had once seemed entirely secular. The 
survival of the ecclesiastical institution was made to serve 
the needs of a crumbling social order, until at last the 
church came to think of itself as the divinely appointed 
agent for God in his administration of all of the affairs 
of the world. 

This has become the social philosophy of Roman Cathol- 
icism. God has designed that his administration of the 
total range of human affairs should be mediated by tlie 
church. The pope is empowered to announce the social 
program to be adopted under all of the varying conditions 
of life. 

The social ideal of Protestantism was originally the 
same as the Catholic. The church was to dictate the social 
order, but its voice was to be made authoritative by ap- 
peal to the scripture. But the Bible was subject to indi- 
vidual interpretation and Protestant leaders in different 
territories who had diversified social programs were un- 
able to impose their will upon society at large. National 
governments were too aggressive to allow the church to 
dominate, and consequently it became the custom to dis- 
tinguish between religious and secular affairs. The act- 
ivities of the church were restricted to the former, religion 
became more distinctly individualistic, and the churches 
lost their social vision. 

In more recent times there has been a revival of the 
social gospel within Protestantism. The rapid industrial 
and economic developments of the nineteenth century 
raised new problems of moral and spiritual import. At 


the outset radical social thinking disavowed all interest in 
religion. This outcome has crystallized in present-day 
Russian communism. On the other hand certain Chris- 
tian leaders within Protestantism acquired a new social 
sensitivity and insisted that the gospel had a definite mes- 
sage for the correction of social ills. Thus the modern 
social gospel was born. 

Still more recently the failure in modern society to 
establish an ideal order has induced some preachers to 
declare the futility of the social gospel. Society, they say, 
is hopelessly corrupt. It must be destroyed by God before 
a new order can be inaugurated. God has not chosen to 
establish his kingdom through the help of human action. 
Economic, political and international problems are beyond 
man's power to solve even in the name of religion. They 
must be left to God alone. Thus the gospel becomes again 
an individual affair and rescues itself from any linkage 
with mundane society. This is the extreme of social pes- 

What trend thinking will take in the future remains to 
be seen. As religious people continue to persist in the 
world they will still be faced by the needs of a society in 
which they must live. That they will more strenuously 
endeavor to correct its evils seems highly probable. At 
least those who find the essence of religion in spirituality 
and believe God to be immanent in his world must attempt 
some renewal of the social gospel. Their views and ac- 
tivities will change with new conditions of life, but while 
life endures they must face its issues. In this respect, 
as in all others, Christianity is still a growing religion. 

Lectures By Bishop Oxnam 
Men and not things are the goal of social living. Jesus 
believed that man is of infinite worth. Personality is the 
supreme good. Government, institutions, social organiza- 
tions are looked upon as instruments to be used by intel- 
ligent men to enrich personality. It is both fitting and 
imperative that contemporary Christians test the social 
order by this principle, and ask "is it putting things first 


or men first?" Christian teaching must so touch the wills 
of executive, economist and engineer that they will unite 
to enthrone the ethical ideal of Jesus. Man possesses suf- 
ficient intelligence to build a society wherein men are put 
before things. It is not a question of ability; it is a ques- 
tion of will. 

Jesus proclaimed tne solidaritj^ of the human family. 
Jesus possessed a world mind, a world heart, a world will. 
He revealed a God in terms of fatherhood, love and right- 
eousness. He assumed that all men are brothers, members 
of a common family. His is a universe large enough to 
unite men for social emancipation. Class, race and nation 
are concepts too small to achieve this noble objective. 
Christian teaching must eventuate in proposals calculated 
to establish world law and order, and thus give institu- 
tional expression to the principle upon an international 
scale. Government must supplant anarchy. Brotherhood 
cannot be attained in the economic order without funda- 
mental readjustment. Certain it is that the Kingdom of 
God cannot be built upon foundations of economic injus- 

Jesus believed in the supremacy of the common good. 
He knew men cannot serve God and mammon. The com- 
mon people heard him gladly, and the test of entering the 
Kingdom was related to ministry to the least of these. 
We have trained men to compete for self-interest. It is 
little wonder they find difficulty in cooperating for the com- 
mon good. In the thought of Jesus, talent means greater 
responsibility to the group. He resolves the ancient prob- 
lem of the "one and the many" by recognizing the infinite 
worth of the one and commanding the full giving of self 
to the many. 

Equal rights for all is not only a basic democratic doc- 
trine; but it is implicit in the thought of Jesus. Tawney 
is right in pointing out that equality of consideration does 
not mean identity of treatment. Equality of opportunity 
is a corollary of brotherhood. Among these rights are 
the right to be well-born, the right to a home, the right 
to an education, the right to work, the right to freedom. 


Christianity must find the means to translate its ideals 
into concrete economic realities. 

In the thought of Jesus, cooperation and not selfish 
competition is the law of progress. We progress as we 
work together. Competing churches have little right to 
be heard when they call for cooperation in the industrial 
and international spheres. 

Jesus believed in love as the cohesive force essential to 
society. Love and not force is the social bond. Leaders who 
would create unity by coercing the consciences of men 
are doomed to fail. Jesus relied upon an inner, not an 
outer, uniting force. It was love. It is good-will in ac- 

Christianity is a world religion. Its founder possessed 
a world mind, a world heart, a world will. It seeks to 
bring world brotherhood to man, and assumes that all men 
belong to one family, because all are children of one 

It is imperative that world law and order be substituted 
for international anarchy. The Christian must understand 
the causes that lead to present conflict and that perpet- 
uate disunity. 

Among these causes are selfish nationalism, economic 
imperialism, and militarism, together with the philos- 
ophies and religions that support them. Nationalism has 
rendered man great service. As a unifying force it 
brought family, tribe, class into a social whole. But the 
nation is not large enough to unite man in world oneness. 
We need now a great new unifying enterprise, namely, 
the world state. When religion is nationalistic, the Italian 
prays to an Italian God, the German likewise to a German 
God. Italians are brothers to Italians, but there is no 
unity beyond the national boundaries. Christianity insists 
upon a concept large enough to include all mankind. Eco- 
nomic imperialism grew out of the search for markets 
and raw materials. It is a root cause of present con- 
flict. As long as there was an expanding world market, 
the industrial nations could seek areas to exploit in terri- 
tory unoccupied by other imperialist nations. But the 


world is taken; a contracting world market faces the im- 
perialist lands; and now thej' turn against each other. 
Militarism, thought to be defense, becomes a' provocative 
force that leads to conflict rather than retards it. 

The Christian must create international understanding. 
It is the essential base upon which world order is to be 
built. The necessary sacrifices in national sovereignty 
that are to be made will be refused, unless international 
understanding is sufficiently developed to enable man to 
recognize his unity and that his future rests upon law. 
Christians would do well to spread accurate understanding 
regarding other peoples. Nations can be studied and pub- 
lic opinion based upon facts developed. Let church groups 
turn to a particular nation and study its physical charac- 
teristics, its economic background, its history, its psycho- 
logical characteristics and the religions that have shaped 
its spiritual thought. A sense of oneness develops. 

The United States must be willing to cooperate with all 
moves that evidence peaceful achievement of world order. 
Eventually, there must be a world legislative assembly, a 
world court, a world executive. Necessary force under 
judicial sanction will take care of t'e world law breaker. 
What the forefathers did for us in uniting thirteen little 
warring units into the United States of America must be 
done for the world and the United States of the W^orld 
will emerge. 

But just as certainly, while giving the fullest material 
aid to democracies attacked by aggressors, v,-e must keep 
the United States out of the present conflict. It has begun 
as a conflict between vertical sections, that is, nations, 
with rich, middle class and poor of each nation fight- 
ing the rich, middle class and poor of another nation. 
It may shift its alignment. Loyalties may leap over na- 
tional lines. The vertical columns may end. We may see 
a horizontal aligimient with classes at war. If so, we 
make no contribution to democracy by entering a class 
conflict. Our fundamental contribution may be made in 
foiTning the terms of peace and by willingness to lead the 


way in those economic adjustments necessary to world 

The Christian cannot divorce himself from the eco- 
nomic order in which he lives. He must determine for 
himself in how far the present order enthrones the ethical 
ideals of Jesus. Quite properly he inquires, "Does com- 
petitive struggle give larger opportunity to express broth- 
erhood than cooperative enterprise?" The Christian does 
not think himself a business executive, but he has full 
right to demand that economic practices shall be judged 
by ethical criteria. 

Thoughtful men who would preserve a system of free- 
enterprise know that certain fundamental problems must 
be solved if that system is to survive. The Brookings 
Institute, whose economists are internationally known, 
and whose President, Dr. H. K. Moulton, is one of the 
ablest of the defenders of capitalism, insists that the 
trouble is with the capitalist not the system of capitalism. 
It is said that the inventive genius and organizational 
ability to capitalism have effected great savings, but that 
these savings have been appropriated too largely by 
ownership, instead of beinc, passed to the workers either 
in decreased prices or higher wages. This failure results 
in lack of purchasing power among consumers and con- 
sequent depression. Can the necessary reforms be ef- 
fected in time? Some hold that no privileged group has 
relinquished its privileges without a struggle. This is 
disputed by others. But change is essential. 

Laski insists that capitalism must solve at least six prob- 
lems if it is to survive. (1) It must remove the contra- 
diction that lies in its ability to produce and its inability 
lo distribute in a moral or rationally adequate way. (2) It 
must remove the barriers that economic nationalism places 
between ut^ and an unimpeded world market. (3) It must 
remove the fear of insecurity that lurks in the mind of 
the worker during every waking hour. (4) It must pro- 
tect the American standard of living from the lower stand- 
ard of living of the East. (5) It must cut away the 
jungle growth of vested interest that so seriously impairs 


the efficiency of the present regime. (6) It must remove 
from the clash of competing imperialism those great struc- 
tures of armed power, which clothed in the garb of sov- 
ereignty are a perpetual threat to freedom and what is 
born of it, the advent of war. 

If the Christian believes in reformism of this type, he 
must be a force creating the will to its realization. If, on 
the contrary, he holds that the system is based upon the 
unrestricted play of self-interest, and that of itself it is 
immoral, then he faces certain questions of importance. 
Assuming the collective ownership of the means of pro- 
duction, distribution and exchange, how can we protect 
the freedom of the individual from the owning state? 
Would a state allow railway workers to strike and thus 
cripple an essential industry? 

It is possible to work out a synthesis whereby the 
creative initiative that flowed from American individual- 
ism may be conserved and the benefits that lie in collective 
endeavor appropriated ? 

The Christian must hold fast to democracy, insisting 
that the democratic decision be obeyed. There is less 
danger from communism in America than from an Amer- 
ican expression of fascism, wherein the chief beneficiaries 
of the present order will refuse to obey the democratic 
decision, when that decision limits their privileges. 

The Christian insists upon a Christian objective, but 
just as truly, upon the Christian method of achieving it. 
Class war must be avoided. But class war cannot be 
avoided unless the spirit of brotherhood be maintained, 
and time enough be made available to discover the tech- 
niques to translate ethical ideals into economic realities. 

Democracy is challenged by a political theory that repu- 
diates the entire conception of a government of the people, 
by the people, and for the people. We have assumed that 
democracy is secure. As a matter of fact, it is in jeop- 
ardy. Dictatorship is but an expression of a theory that 
admits of no sovereignty beyond that of the state. Mus- 
solini states, "For fascism, the state is absolute before 


which individuals and groups are relative. It is for the 
individual in so far as he coincides with the state." 

Dictatorship decapitates its opposition. Democracy 
dignifies it. Democracy believes in the interplay of ideas. 
With Laski and former Dean Pound, we see that democ- 
racy keeps the avenues open through which originality 
may flow, and we recognize that the fundamental prin- 
ciple of stability is the maintenance of a technique of 
change. It appears that the dictator, relying upon force 
and capable of immediate and united action is more effi- 
cient than is democracy. But the dictators crush out the 
creative mind, and the nation moves toward intellectual 
sterility. They preach a philosophy of force and arm the 
working class. If they fail to solve their economic prob- 
lem, the very masses they have armed will rise to destroy 

But if democracy is to be preserved, it must be realized 
that democracy is not only a political form, it is also a 
political ideal. The form insures civil liberty, which in 
turn gives the freedom necessary for peaceful change, 
and the application of the truth found in the free quest 
for truth. But the form is not enough. The ideal, phrased 
in such slogans as liberty, equality, and fraternity must 
be translated into economic realities. We must not be con- 
tent to burn incense before constitutional government. We 
must use our political freedom to win economic justice. 

The Christian must teach the principles of conduct upon 
which democracy rests, and must reveal the objectives 
toward which democracy moves. He must be a voice of 
judgment. We must find some great over-mastering ideal 
that will insure that men given freedom will not abuse it. 
Class, race, nation are concepts too small to unite men 
for social emancipation. The Christian must proclaim a 
brotherhood that includes all men. Men must be unified 
by an ideal not an enemy. American labor has been united 
by an enemy. The result is that when victory conies or 
defeat appears, the movement has a tendency to disinte- 
grate because the unifying force is gone. This is equally 
true in the nation. We are not made one by fighting a 


class, a race, another nation. We are united in the en- 
deavor to use science to enrich human personality. 

The future of the Protestant pulpit is related to the 
maintenance of the civil liberties of democracy. Likewise, 
the future of democracy rests upon the maintenance of 
the social ideals that lie at the heart of Christianity. The 
Christian dare not be recreant to his high trust. He must 
reveal the necessary ideals, create the unifying force, and 
increase the percentage of cultured, morally obligated 
beings who live within the democratic community. The 
cultured mind, dedicated to a worthy ethical ideal, is the 
problem solving type of mind essential to the solution of 
the problems now confronting democracy. 


Men On The Move. By Nels Anderson. Chicago: The 
University of Chicago Press, 1940. 357 pages. $3.00. 

The problem of the modern migrant is modern only in 
the sense that it is currently urgent. It is, however, no 
more modern than the problem of technological change, 
which is modern only in relation to its current phase and 
the speed with which the changes are now bi'ought about. 
Today, as always, migrancy and technology have gone hand 
in hand. 

New methods for making a living, new techniques for 
doing work of the day, and new tools or machines serve 
to dislocate people. There have been many general eco- 
nomic dislocations which resulted in a general shifting 
and dislocation of the population. The present situation 
is different only in detail and extent, but it is not differ- 
ent in its general implications. 

Today, hundreds of thousands of Americans are on the 
move. In "jalopies," in trucks, they cross the continent 
looking for work — w^hite-collar, skilled, semi-skilled, un- 
skilled work. They and their families endure all the hard- 
ships of improvised shelters in unsanitary shanty 
towns; and unlike their predecessors, the pioneers, they 
have no assurance of a destination. Whichever way they 
turn, they find too many other migrants. The road leads 

The present boom in defense industries has sent thou- 
sands of families to rubber towns like Akron, automobile 
cities like Detroit, airplane cities like Seattle. Some of 
the migrants will get jobs but many will find no employ- 
ment. The agricultural workers of the Middle West keep 
moving westward, finding the same situation as the peo- 
ple lured by the defense industries. The "Oakies," the 
"Arkies," and the "Texies" — all symbolized by the Joads 
in The Grapes of Wrath — are on their way to jobs that 
may or may not exist. 

In 1923 Mr. Anderson wrote his well-known book, The 


Hobo. Even while it attracted widespread attention, the 
hobo was ceasing to exist. Economic and technological 
forces were changing the labor scene, giving rise to the 
new problems of the migratory worker. This problem 
Mr, Anderson now analyzes with full attention to its eco- 
nomic and social implications. He discusses the reasons 
for migration, the relation of migrancy to natural re- 
sources, industrial development, and farm mechanization; 
reviews the efforts of states and localities to deal with the 
growing problem; and finally discusses the federal tran- 
sient and family service program. 

There is no aspect of the problem, he believes, thai 
could not be solved with jobs. His concrete suggestions 
for how those jobs might be provided is of particular im- 
portance at the present time w^hen the American public 
is becoming aware that frustration and broken morale 
have no place in a democracy. 

The World's Need of Christ. By Charles A. Ellwood. 
Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1940. 237 pages. 

The social philosophy of this author is already w^ell 
known from his earlier writings. Again he insists that 
the only remedy for social ills and the only sure means of 
accomplishing social progress is the inculcation of spir- 
itual ideals. The task of the social reformer is to per- 
suade men, both a^ individuals and as groups, to seek the 
eternal values of love, peace, brotherhood and good will. 
Then truth, right, justice and all other characteristics of 
a new social order, that could fittingly be called the King- 
dom of God, would universally prevail. 

As a matter of course, if society is to be saved by the 
preaching of ideals it is important to know how these 
ideals are to be validated. How does one know absolutely 
what is right, what is true, what is just? Experimental 
sociologists, as well as toilers in other fields of scientific 
inquiry, even in philosophy and religion, have vigorously 
applied pragmatic tests to this problem. All of these ef- 
forts are heartily condemned by Professor Ellwood on the 


ground that they deal with sensate data when they ought 
instead to have been concerned with spiritual values. It 
is assumed that these are absolute, universal and eternal. 
But how can this alleged character of the ideals be estab- 
lished? What one man holds to be absolute, another 
thinks to be relative, what seems to one universal is re- 
garded by another as provincial, what one man calls eter- 
nal is for another only temporal. This perplexing prob- 
lem is solved by assuming that Jesus taught a social 
philosophy eternally true and valid for all time. Therefore, 
"imitation of Christ" would insure the dawn of a social 

Both the scienc'! and the philosophy of our modern 
western civilization are sharply arraigned and sum- 
marily condemned before this bar of judgment. Both 
have sadly neglected Christ. Sensate science refuses to 
become humanized because it fails to stress the Christian 
virtues. The pragmatic and intellectual tests of value ap- 
plied to human experience are not to be discarded pro- 
vided they recognize the superiority of Christ's social and 
intellectual system of thought. His personality and vision 
were of so extraordinarj^ a type that he comprehended all 
the problems of our complex modern world and proposed 
the only principles by which they can be solved. This is 
confidently affirmed but one can hardly say that it is 
scientifically or logically demonstrated. No attempt is 
made to recover the actual teaching of Jesus by critical 
investigation of the sources of historical information. The 
notoriously subjective conclusions of Simkhovitch regard- 
ing the content and meaning of the teaching of Jesus are 
accepted as fully authoritative. 

Still other areas of modern culture are sharply accused 
of neglecting Christ. Even religion and the Church do 
not escape. Theological speculation and institutional or- 
ganizations have diverted attention from the simple gospel 
which Christ proposed for establishing the Kingdom of 
God on earth. Consequently Christiantiy has been losing 
its vitality. The neglect of Christ by business and indus- 
try is even more glaring, while political and international 


relations are rankly un-Christian. The remedy'' for all of 
these ills is to preach and practice the ideals and attitudes 
taught by Christ. 

The book presents a vigorous challenge to anyone who 
feels himself at ease in Zion. Its pertinent and sometimes 
exaggerated portiayals of the weaknesses of the church 
are always stimulating. Resentment at its failure to have 
produced as yet a civilization completely dominated by 
spiritual values, and to develop a world-brotherhood 
worthy to be called a Kingdom of God on earth, seems to 
render Professor Ellwood blind to the debt which even 
he owes to the church for preserving alive the very ideals 
he preaches and for providing a social order where he 
may with impunity condemn our civilization for its alleged 
failures. His program fo'^ the "recO'istructio"' of our 
civilization," is certainly good as far as it goes. No sincere 
person will question the de?i' ability of emulating the ideals 
of love, brotherhood, honesty, justice, and heart-righteous- 
ness set forth in the teaching of Jesus. But how are they 
to be practically iniplemented in the modern social order? 
To preach these ideals persuasively, as does our author, 
will hardly suffice. That has been do'-'e time and again 
in the course of the past and undoubtedly it will ^leed to 
be done again for many davs to come. The n^oblem of 
so shaping action that it will conform to the id'^al na^^ern 
is quite another matter. The plan he^'e proposed is "imi- 
tation of Christ", but a merely imitative type of livi'\g is 
never sufficiently aps'gressive to insure renewed vitality 
to a declining civilization. Any phase of culture, religion 
not excepted, loses its creative urge and relapses into 
mediocrity, if not indeed into decay, when its exponents 
are content with striving to imitate the good things that 
have been said or done in the past. The kind of disciiole 
of Jesus needed in our world is one who will be as aggres- 
sively creative for religion today as Ch>-ist and other 
great religious personages of the past have been for their 
dav and generation. To set Christ up as the final and 
authoritative ideal, who is merely to be imitated, m.ay be- 
come a deceptive program to relieve ourselves of respon- 


sibility for constructive action in the task of remaking 
our world. Spiritual ideals are intangible things until 
they have been tianslated into concrete fact in the realm 
of sensate experience. How to accomplish this result is 
the real problem. 

The Letters of Saint Boniface. Translated with an In- 
troduction by Ephraim Emerton. New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1940. 204 pages. $3.00. 

Boniface was a picturesque figure in the history of 
Christianity's expansion into the regions of Europe north 
of Italy and Fiance in the eighth century. He had gone 
fi'om Britain as a missionary to the continent, after hav- 
ing first paid a visit to Rome to receive instructions from 
the Pope. Then he set out upon his life's task of convert- 
ing the north German tribes from paganism to Chris- 
tianity. In addition to his missionary zeal, he was in- 
spired by a desire to bring back the Prankish church and 
Germanic Christendom more completely under the influ- 
ence of Roman standards of organization and conduct. 
The correspondence between Boniface and his numerous 
friends in Britain where he had spent the first forty years 
of his life, the letters that passed back and forth between 
him and successive popes, his communications with the 
Prankish princes and with others regarding reforms in 
the Prankish church, and letters to or from less well 
known persons, make this collection an invaluable source 
of information for the historian. These letters furnish us 
not only knowledge of the expansion of Christian civili- 
zation east of the Rhine during the eighth century but 
also many insights into the developments of that day 
within Christendom in other lands. 

The late Professor Emerton was a life-long student of 
the middle ages who brought an ample equipment to the 
task of translating these Latin documents. The man- 
uscript has been edited for publication by Professor La 
Plana who has supplied a short bibliography. The trans- 
lation is prefaced by a brief Introduction, but interpre- 
tative notes and comments are completely lacking. These 


will not be greatly missed by a reader who is familiar 
with events and persoiis contemporary with Boniface. A 
commentaiy that might have doubled the size of the vol- 
ume would have rendeied it more serviceable for the av- 
erage reader. But it was the desire of Professor Emerton 
that the letters might be left to speak for themselves and 
the editor has honored this wish. A good Index has been 

This is Volume XXXI in the exceedingly useful series 
called "Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies", 
issued under the auspices of the Department of History 
of Columbia University, with Professor Austin P. Evans 
as chief editor. __^ 

American Mirror. By Half or d E. Luccock. The Mac- 
millan Co., 1940. 300 pages. $2.50. 

Believing the liteiary response to the time-spirit to be 
"a genuine, if limited, mirror, reflecting life as no other 
glass can do". Professor Luccock, not exclusively a spe- 
cialist in literary modei but — rather startlingly — a pro- 
fessor in homiletics, examines in an admittedly inadequate, 
brief survey the fiction, drama, and poetry of the "hungry 
thirties". The ] esult is a useful text, unpedaiitic and lib- 
eral in its sympathies, more often shrewd than naive in its 
selections and opinions. 

Ame7'ican Mirror, one finds after reading the author's 
somewhat worried cxpla iatio:is, means, not Professor 
Luccock's work, but the creative literature of the 1930's 
in America. But it is espocially the forceful e'notioial 
product of social turmoil and lebellion that the subjects to 
terse, unromanticized scrutiny; and it is from this "au- 
thentic mirror" that he makes his "candid" pictures. 
Candid is taken to mean pi actically what it meais i i the 
phrase "candid camera pictures" — graphic, unrelieved 
outlines of stark, unposed life, not pretty often, but strik- 
ingly real, taken, if possible, from an unconventional 
angle and treated as a fresh revelation of truth. 

The spirit of the homilist pervades the writing, largely 
determining the selection of material : the man would ^-ead 
a "ten years' sermon" in the literary activity of the time. 


His mind turns upon the wisdom of the Bible as he fol- 
lows the swift modern currents. His eye, generally, 
though not always, is the homiletic eye; and his natural 
phrase, often his natural judgment, is homiletical and 
Biblical. He would not have written, though perhaps he 
could, as a detached and many-sided literal y critic would 
write. (His reading is remarkable in its extent and vari- 
ety; his taste is unsqueamish and liberal.) He disavows 
a master interest in aesthetic or literary criticism, in 
whether the writing will or should last, what concerns 
him most is writing that springs out of the . . . infinite 
passion and the pain, of finite heaits that yearn. 

Such according to the author, leveals most closely the 
life of the time. If there was any other kind of life, 
Professor Luccock, as one searching, not for historical 
completeness, but lor ethical and religious values, assigns 
it to a relatively unimportant level. The plaint of the 
romantic idealist, sounding eerily in the crumbling tem- 
ples, though not wholly absent, was, he observes truly, 
largely effectless, unintelligible, or doom-ridden. It was 
a time when "many palpitating little egos were brought 
outdooi's into a larger world of thought and turmoil". 

The first chapter recounts in terse sequence the terrible 
story of the depression, the events leading to it and pro- 
ducing the "decade of the big D's — depression, disaster, 
distress, disillusion, despair, dislocation, dole". The impor- 
tant observation is herein made that in the midst of the 
"widespread confusion and ostracism (a legacy from the 
twenties) emerged a sharpened social awareness and pro- 
test which was to be the prevailing literary theme of the 

In the chapter, "Some Literary Trends of the 1930's", 
the righteous irony elsewhere so apparent throughout the 
book is least obtrusive; the detached scholar in Professor 
Luccock has his chance. He sorts and characterizes the 
leading types of writing both in the twenties and in the 
thirties, though why he fails to give more than a glance 
at sober critical writing, or even journalistic writing such 
as Gunther's or Van Paassen's, is puzzling. 



The chapter on the "The Candid Camera at Work" dis- 
cusses literature dealing, not with "moonlight and honey- 
suckle" but with the stark, the grim, the brutal, the deca- 
dent, the nasty in American life. 

One of the best chapters perhaps is on "Religion — Im- 
plicit and Explicit". Here Professor Luccock writes re- 
vealingly in his own special province, showing how relig- 
ion as a theme has been prominent in drama, fiction, 

Now, if the treatment throughout is condensed, one 
ought to be thankful for a condensation generally so well 
done, so serviceable as marking the moods. Yet certain 
minor disappointments are inevitable. Compelled by the 
nature of his plan to be brief and succinct. Professor 
Luccock must give but the bare outlines of plats and lit- 
erary concepts. The peculiar deficiency of the condensed 
text-book applies in consequence, and he who seeks the 
life, the color, the full-dimensioned body of the work itself 
is bound to be disturbed. Synopses make irritating reading 
for all but those who, like Professor Luccock, rejoice that 
a certain ethical concept got itself expressed in some fash- 
ion in literature. 

Herein lies — does it not? — the real weakness of the 
book, namely forcing creative literature to serve ends 
which, by its very nature, it can serve imperfectly or not 
at all. Not every filthy tramp can be legitimate literary 
material, though every filthy tramp commands the atten- 
tion of the moralist. Literature worth taking seriously ob- 
serves a consistent choice of material, a choice determined 
by certain permanent qualities of taste. The fact that 
a writing contains ethical matter is no guarantee that it 
gives a true or ample reflection of life. The comic strips 
are pretty ethical and certainly the Alger series are 

Now this intense concern to see behind, say Cald^v-elVs 
"Tobacco Road", the fiery writing of eternal law leads to 
interesting ends. It leads, for example, to a habit of 
using the weighty and sanctified wisdom o.l Biblical 
phraseology as apt description of a condition. The result 


is just as irritating to the impartial critical reader as the 
use of any axiom would be, or any cliche. Why? Because, 
though true, these expressions never quite fit the case. 
They constitute a deiis ex machina device in criticism and 
are substitutions for original "candid camera" effects. Of 
"The River", for example, he writes: "It is a story of 
sin, unfolding with the relentless inevitability of a Greek 
tragedy, with soil erosion, dust storms, slaughter of for- 
ests, and flood chanting, 'Be sure your sin will find you 
out"'. This is truly the pathetic fallacy with a homiletic 

It is precisely in those portions of his work where 
Professor Luccock adheres wholly to the pure principles 
of literary criticism or to the pure principles of social or 
religious criticism that he is most trenchant, most profit- 
ably illuminating. It is fortunate for this result, that not 
every picture in "American Mirror" is distorted and rob- 
bed of its finest clarities by double exposure. 

Kenneth G. Weihe 

Florida Southern College. 

The Springs of Creative Living: A Study of Human 
Nature and God. By Rollo May. New York and Nashville: 
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1940. 271 pages. $2.00. 

This is a book for neurotics, or for ministers who spe- 
cialize in dealing with that type of deceased personality. 
The author has steeped himself thoroughly in the theory 
and practice of psychiatry. He is an ardent crusader for 
the art of psychotherapy and elevates Sigmund Freud on 
a pedestal beside Socrates and Darwin as sources of en- 
lightenment for mankind. Similar honors are paid to C. G. 
Jung, Alfred Adler, Fritz Kunkel, Otto Rank, and others 
who in their several ways have sought to plumb the 
troubled waters of the mentally distressed and help people 
to find meaning and happiness in their lives. While the 
psych oanalvists may help the individual to iron out the 
quirks in his mind, discover his inhibitions, overcome his 


conflicts, and give healthful direction to his mental ener- 
gies, they cannot lead the patient to the realization of 
life's ultimate meaning without recourse to religion. The 
aim of the present volume is to supply this need by mak- 
ing religion the goal of the psychoanalyst's effort. 

In order to fit into this program religion has to be de- 
fined in a specific way. It is that area of experience which 
gives meaning to life. Psychotherapy straightens out the 
"structure of the meaning" while "religion is this mean- 
ing". Apparently this phrasing implies that healthful 
mental operations learn to discard the lesser values on 
which attention had formerly been fixed but which had 
resulted in neuroses just because these values were not 
ultimate. But in religion the mental struggle comes to 
rest as the final goal of all desire. Thus religion would 
seem to be essentially a feeling of satisfaction that calms 
and transcends the ordinary disturbances of the troubled 
mind. It is the final emotional state that refuses to har- 
bor further anxieties. This interpretation of religion is 
in line with certain present-day trends against the use 
of rational and experimental tests for evaluating religion. 

In other words, the author is a whole-hearted disciple 
of the "crisis" theology as propounded by the "dialectic" 
method of Paul Tillich. Despair, which in other areas of 
mental life results in confusion and distress, becomes in 
the sphere of religion a glorified affirmation of content- 
ment with an inexplicable conflict the resolution of which 
one must leave to God himself. For the neurotic, who is 
accustomed to be the victim of his feelings, there is prob- 
ably no better solution for his troubles than to pass them 
all over to God to be dealt with according to his inscru- 
table will. 

This book should serve a very useful purpose for all 
persons who are subject to the mental disturbances with 
which it deals. Its author is gripped by a genuinely 
evangelistic zeal for the cause he advocates, his presen- 
tation of the subject is clear and appealing, and he is al- 
luringly optimistic regarding the res alts to be obtained 
from the adoption of his program. The charm of the vol- 


lime need not be missed even by a reader who is skeptical 
as to both its processes and conclusions. Its fundamental 
assumption that one has to be mentally ill before he can 
be truly religious has resulted from the narrow concen- 
tration of the author upon his particular theme, and his 
statement that "sooner or later all human beings" belong 
in this category will hardly win universal assent. 

Undoubtedly many Christian ministers ought to have a 
better understanding of the processes of psychotherapy, 
but to assume that this is their chief function would be a 
grave mistake. Religion may well serve as a therapeutic 
for diseased minds but it cannot afford to neglect its 
claims to the attention of healthy minds. Nor will modern 
religious thought easily substitute the doctrine of man's 
total mental depravity for the ancient and now rejected 
notion of man's total physical depravity inherited from 

Je.'^us Christ The Same. By James Moffatt. New York 
and Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1940. 223 
pages. $2.00. 

The central purpose of this book is to reaffirm the doc- 
trine of the incarnation formally enunciated at the Council 
of Chalcedon in the year 451, and to restate it in terms 
more adequate to modern psychological and historical 
thinking. At the same time an effort is made to eliminate 
the suggestion of a dual personality or of an unnatural 
blending of the divine and the human in the character of 
Jesus. The terminology adopted for this purpose is the 
"divine humanity" of Christ. No attempt is made to define 
philosophically or psychologically the meaning of this 
term. The aim is rather to furnish historical assurance of 
the doctrine that God once and for all time to come in- 
jected himself into history in the person of Jesus Christ 
in order that by this unique Act of God — Act must be 
spelled with a capital "A" — salvaLion might be made pos- 
sible for men. 

Dr. Moffatt will not admit the propriety of drawing 


any sharp distinction between the personal religious living 
of Jesus and the religion of the disciples who made Christ 
the object of their own faith. He doubts the validity of 
the attempts made by modern students of the gospels to 
penetrate behind the early Christian reverence for Christ 
to a more primitive portrait of the real Jesus as a relig- 
ious person who lived and taught in the bollef that men 
might be persuaded to serve and commune with God in 
the same way tbiit Jesus himself sought to attain religious 
excellence. The authority with which he delivered his 
message rested not primarily upon his experiential sense 
of fellowship with the Father but upon a consciousness 
that he was uniquely "God in the flesh". He expected his 
followers to worship him, and when he protested against 
calling him "Lord, Lord" it was to warn them against ef- 
fusive homage unaccompanied by obedience. 

Thus it would appear that modern critical study of the 
gospels by which one discovers a process of development 
in early Christian doctrine about the person of Christ is 
all wrong-headed. And later theologians who dignified 
Jesus with notable titles ranging from Messiah to full 
Deity, as postulated at the Nicene and Chalcedonian coun- 
cils, were moving in the very direction of Jesus' own in- 
tention. Thus the formation of the Chalcedonian doctrine 
of the incarnation was virtually true to the mind of 
Christ. Modems who wish to be loyal to him will hold 
this same faith if they add thei'pto an equally bold insist- 
ence upon the genuineness of his humanity, particularly 
as interpreted by Calvin, If Jesus seems too purely hu- 
man in the garden of Gethsemane when he struggles with 
God in prayer as death approaches, one should say with 
Calvin that "strong gi"ief did take from him the imme- 
diate recollection of God's will, so that for the moment 
he did not recall that to suffer death was the condition on 
which he was sent to be the redeemer of mankind". But 
one cannot refrain from asking, Does it become an incarn- 
ate God to suffer such lapses of memory? 

In this volume the author's reputation as a scholar is 
summoned to the defense of a conservative Calvinistic 


type of Christology. One could almost say, as Harnack 
did of a certain German rival, "his learning astonishes 
me but the use he makes of it astounds me". 

Reaching The Unchurched. By Alfred L. Murray. New 
York: Round Table Press, 1940. 150 pages. $1.50. 

This is an attempt to restore the old fashioned techniques 
of personal evangelism as a method of securing church 
members. The literary style is seiTnonic and anecdotal. 
Evidently the aim was to move readers to action rather 
than to justify the recommended procedures or to allay 
the suspicions of those who may have lost confidence in 
the proposed program. For one whose psychological 
honesty is not stultified by the course of action here 
recommended, or whose contacts, are chiefly with persons 
who are capable of responding to this type of appeal, the 
practical suggestions of the book may prove very useful. 
Vviiile the significance of the traditional revival meeting 
is not discounted, the author favors more strongly a pro- 
gram of personal contacts. The word of an individual to 
an individual spoken at the right moment is thought to 
be the most effective instrument for securing conversions. 
The use of printed tracts is commended, and the one who 
would win converts must himself be a living example of 
the gospel he preaches. Prayer, both by individuals 
and groups, is believed to have miraculous eflScacy. Per- 
sonal invitations to people to attend church, and written 
messages to one whose salvation one seeks to effect, are 
approved. If evangelism is to succeed it must be an inter- 
est of all the members of the church. And, above all, if 
pennanent values are to result the new converts must be 
provided with definite tasks to elicit their energies as 
members of the Christian society. The procedures set 
forth in this book should prove helpful for one working 
with people whose mental and emotional background is 
of a suitable type, but if applied in a different setting the 
program might prove disastrous to the success of the 
Christian cause. 


Greek Popular Religion. By Martin P. Nilsson. New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1940. 166 pages. $2.50. 

The war in Europe today has brought conspicuously to 
our attention the existence of the Greek nation. Tempor- 
arily we may have forgotten their ancestoi-s who were 
pioneers in establishing the arts of civilization in the an- 
cient world. The heritages passed on by them have 
exerted a wide influence upon Europe and America even 
dovy^n to the present day. Their literature, their philos- 
ophy, their sculpture, their architecture, their experiments 
in government, and even their religion, have left an abid- 
ing impression upon the subsequent cultural developments 
of many different peoples. A book dealing with the pop- 
ular religious practices and beliefs of the Greeks in the 
early days of their history is a timely publication, espe- 
cially when it presents the findings of a competent scholar 
in a form intelligible and interesting to the average lay- 

The Greeks were a devoutly religious race. But books 
expounding their religion have often failed to penetrate 
to the heart of the subject. They dealt too exclusively with 
the pictorial mythology of the poets, or the speculations 
of the philosophers, and have missed the significance of 
religion for the life of the common people. Professor 
Nilsson's volume corrects this distorted perspective. He 
understands that religion is fundamentally an affair of 
real life and that it can be truly apprehended only as it 
is seen in action. Mythological fancy and philosophical 
interpretation are consequents rather than antecedents of 
religious living. In other words, the cult is the primary 
unit and theology the by-product of a vital religion. The 
most pertinent information for this type of study must 
be derived from archeology rather than from literature, 
and the ample archeological knowledge of the author has 
enabled him to treat his subject in a fresh and interesting 

The reader is first introduced to the religious activities 
of the Greek countryside, where agriculture and stock- 
breeding are the chief concerns for which the protection 


of the divine powers is sought. Human subsistence de- 
pends upon the generosity of nature. The spirits of na- 
ture who dwelt in the groves, the springs and the rivers 
were made the helpful allies of mankind. Worshipers 
bedecked every countryside with shrines inclosing an 
image, a sacr-ed stone, or a sacred tree. Likewise heroic 
persons who had lived in earlier times were venerated at 
their graves and rendered various types of help to the 
worshipers. The nature demons and the heroes retained 
an abiding place in popular belief even in later Chris- 
tian times when they were rebaptized as evil demons, 
martyrs and saints. 

Rural customs and festivals are described in some de- 
tail. The Greeks had a rich and varied folklore which, 
for them, was inseparable from religion. The festival of 
Dionysus was celebrated in honor of fertility in general 
and vine-culture in particular, and Demeter was revered 
as the source of vitality in the cultivation of cei'eals. The 
cult of Demeter at Eleusis early attained a unique prom- 
inence in Greek religion and is given a separate chapter 
in this book. Although originally an old agrarian cult it 
came to have a moral significance and to be a basis of 
hope in the immortality of mankind. Still other chapters 
of this volume treat with skill and insight "The House 
and the Family", "The Cities and the Panegyreis" , "Sii- 
perstition and Hell", and "Seers and Oracles." 

Throughout one sees a distinct line of development. The 
status of religion is always dependent upon the conditions 
under which people live. Changes in popular religion fol- 
low changes in ways of living. When Greeks left the coun- 
tryside and migrated to the towns they sought a livelihood 
by industry and commerce, which compelled religion to 
provide aid for these enterprises. Changes in political 
life had a similar effect. Religion i-emained a peiTnanent 
factor in the situation, although it developed new forms 
to meet the new needs and ideas of the people. This in- 
sight into the nature of religious evolution among the 
Greeks should be acquired by everyone who wishes to 
understand the similar process observable in the history 


of the Hebrew and the Christian religions. Too often we 
assume that a rehgion is adequately understood when the 
ideas of its leading theologians have been expounded, or 
when its hierarchical or sacerdotal philosophy has been 
stated. But the real vitality of religion must be sought 
in the life of the masses by whom it is practiced and sus- 
tained. This fact is as true of all living religions as it 
was of the religion of the ancient Greeks. 

It may not be out of place to note in this connection 
that this volume revives a series of studies temporarily 
suspended in the year 1916. Twenty years earlier a group 
known as the "American Committee for Lectures on the 
History of Religions" had been formed and under its 
auspices several volumes of excellent lectures had been 
published. But after 1916 the committee became quiescent. 
Then in 1936 the surviving members of the committee 
turned over its funds and responsibilities to the Anlerican 
Council of Learned Societies. Under the new auspices a 
committee has been appointed to revive this interest and 
Professor Nilsson was secured as the first lecturer. The 
outstanding value of his scholarly contribution to our 
knowledge of this interesting subject whets our appetite 
for further lectures in this promising series. 

The Catholic Church in Indiana, 1789-1834. By Thomas 
T. McAvoy. New York: Columbia University Press, 
1940. 226 pages. $2.25. 

The Archivist of the University of Notre Dame makes 
an important contribution to the understanding of a much 
neglected phase of the history of the American frontier. 
This volume is at once much more than its title indicates 
and at the same time somewhat less. It is much more 
than the usual "Catholic history" of what the church has 
done to the region in which it was located, being more 
largely a history of what the environment of Indiana did 
to the Catholic Church. While the author is certain that 
the "sacraments administered in the forests of New 
France were the same as those of Rome itself," he is 


careful to point out that at least in external forms "the 
Church always takes on the color of its environment." 
Two sentences in the introduction set forth the author's 
approach. "In the progress of the Church in America the 
means of travel, the men who travelled, the means of live- 
lihood, and the places where these means could be found 
have played a momentous part. In the Old Northwest, 
where there have been Catholics since the first French 
settlements, the Church has always borne some markings 
of the economic and social conflict through which her 
members have passed." These are highly significant state- 
ments, for little Catholic history, indeed little church his- 
tory, has been written with an understanding of environ- 
mental factors involved. 

The volume is somewhat less than might be expected 
in that it does not always live up to the promised social 
appro.ach and likewise in that, while true to its title, 
Indiana really means Vince^ines. Important chapters have 
to deal with "Vincennes at the End of Quebec Rule," 
"Carroll Takes up the Rule of the West," and "The Ap- 
pointment of A Bishop of Vincennes." A great deal of 
information is made available about Catholic relationships 
with the Indians and about a little known phase of co- 
operation between the United States Government and the 
Catholic church in which the government subsidized work 
among the Indians. 

The study, based primarily upon hitherto unused man- 
uscript sources, pictures the Catholic Church in Indiana 
in tra?)sition from French missions to the later American 
Church. It relates the story of a neglected period in mid- 
dle- we-^tern Catholic history and examines the contribu- 
tion of the French pioneers to later Catholicism in the 
Middle West. It gives the missing and important link 
in the story of early Catholic activities in the Wabash and 
St. Joseph valleys and throws much light on the plight 
of the neglected French settlers. The book is of special 
interest to American ecclesiastical and social historians, 
particularly to those interested in frontier conditions. 


George W. Ti^ett: A Biography. By Powhatan James. 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940. 277 pages. $1. 

This is a reissue of an "authorized" life of the pastor 
of the First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Being author- 
ized by the subject, and written by his son-in-law, it is 
naturally not a critical estimate of the contribution of this 
Southern Baptist leader. The volume is a splendid record 
of the "mai-velous unfoldment of a remarkable life." Those 
stirring incidents and episodes which reveal the spirit of 
a man are recounted here with skill and insight. 

Scant attention is given to the social background of 
Dr. Truett's work. Indeed, so much attention is given to 
"George Truett," that the space limitations of the book 
prevent the author from giving necessary attention to the 
southwest where Dr. Truett has labored and to the Bap- 
tist denomination in which he has come to such conspic- 
uous leadership. 

Here is a stcry packed with human interest. The inner 
workings of this great preacher's mind are revealed in 
many personal anecdotes and letters and in the analysis 
of his methods of work as pastor, preacher and world 
Baptist leader. Seldom does a country youth become the 
financial agent of a university and after two years of suc- 
cessful work decide to enter that university as a fresh- 
man, yet that was what George Truett did at Baylor Uni- 
versity. Few men retain their first pastorate for more 
than forty years, yet Truett completed his fortieth year 
as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas in 1937. 

This romantic life-story of George Truett will appeal to 
all who are interested in biography. The author's con- 
stant use of superlatives should place the reader on guard, 
however, for there are many exaggerations. A few state- 
ments are historically inaccurate, such as the one about 
Baylor University being the first school of higher learning 
in Texas. 


Chart For Happiness. By Hornell Hart. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1940, 19^ pages. $2.00. 

Happiness by mathematical formula. The Euphori- 
meter now takes its place alongside the thermometer, the 
electrocardigraph, and the manometer as a scientific in- 
strument for diagnosing individual ills. This, at least, 
is the slightly exaggerated claim of the author. This in- 
strument is intended to measure the happiness of those 
who submit themselves to it, to diagnose the causes of 
human anguish, and to point the way to the relief of mal- 
adjustment and to open the way toward joyous living. 

The first half of the volume is devoted to a general dis- 
cussion of the desirability of happiness. The second half 
is an affinnative answer to the question, "Can Science 
Measure Happiness?" The Euphorimeter is the answer, 
or rather two euphorimeters, for one must submit to a 
"long-run" as well as an "at-the-moment" test. One of 
the questions in the "long-run" test is, "Do you think you 
ought to be happier than you are?" This sounds almost 
like a counselor asking, "Do you feel maladjusted?" The 
long term evaluation hinges further on such questions as 
"How often during the past year have you had to put out 
of your mind the idea of taking your life by suicide?" 
and "Is your temperament more up-and-down or more 
even, on a level?" The "at-the-moment" test is based ui)on 
the selection of a number of adjectives from a lengthy 
list. The scoring is done from a fraction made by placing 
the number of "happy reactions minus unhappy reaction" 
over the "happy reactions plus unhappy reactions." 

The preliminary tests are followed by the "Diagnostic 
Euphorimeter" dealing with recreation, work, home, 
health, sense-of-success, mental harmony, economic status, 
person-to-person attitudes, and altruism. Answers to 
these questions are subjected to the "Euphorimeter Spec- 
trum." The spectrum enables the counselor to make up 
an "Euphorimeter Advice Form" informing the patient 
what he needs to do to increase his happiness. 


This book is intended for two classes or readers: those 
who sense the fact that they are not living in as full a 
tide of happiness as they might attain and the profes- 
sional men and women who are concerned about the hap- 
piness and unhappiness of client, student, parishoner, or 
patient. While some of the claims for the new "scientific 
instrument** seem somewhat exaggerated, the book does 
offer a useful technique for examining those adjustments 
which make for happiness. This is the start, not the 
finish, of the quest for more reliable data for dealing with 
the emotional problem involved. 

Florida Southern 

Lakeland, Florida 

Co-Educational -:- Founded 1885 
The College 

In a Grove 
On a Hill 

Beside a Lake 
In a City 

The college is the only one in the United States which has a 
citrus grove for a campus. This 62-acre tract extends along a slope 
overlooking Lake Hollingsworth and is well within the municipal 
limits of Lakeland. 

With an enrollment of over 900 students and a staff of 72 
faculty members, the school offers courses in 33 departments of in- 
struction leading to A.B. and B.S. degrees and L.I. certificates. 

The institution is a member of the Southern Association of 
Colleges and Secondary Schools, an affiliation that guarantees full 
recognition of credits by standard institutions of learning every- 

Eighty-five percent of the student body participates in the broad 
intramural program. Each student has a wide rang^e of other extra- 
curricular activities to supplement his class work. Dramatics, stu- 
dent publications, debating, glee club, orchestra and mixed chorus 
are just a few of them. Numerous clubs are active in other fields 
of interest. Several fraternities and sororities, as well as campus 
gjoups, add to the social life. 

Drawing students from over 26 states and 12 church denomina- 
tions, the college offers students stimulation and unlimited pleasure 
from the friendships made on the campus. 

For specific information concerning the faculty, courses, general 
regulations, expenses, requirements for degrees and other matters, 
send for a catalog, addressing requests to 

Florida Southern College 

Lakeland, Florida 


In The Making 



By Edgar Sheffield Brightman 


, By Regina Westcott Wieman 


By Shirley Jackson Case 






Shirley Jackson Case. Editor 

Religion in the Ma!:lng is published four times a year, 
in May, November. January, and March. It is sponsored 
by the Florida School of Relisrion and edited by the dean 
of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, or sixty cents 
per sinjfle issue. Remittances should be made by postal or money orders or by check and made payable to 
the Florida School of Relijfion. 

All communications, includinj^ business correspondence, 
manuscripts, exchanfres, and books submitted for review, 
?i iild l)e addressed to Shirley Jack.son Case, Editor, 
i iMiida School of Relijfion, Lakeland,. Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland. Florida, four times 
a year, May 16, \ovember 15, January 15, and March 
16. Entered as seeond-c.lass matter June 6. 1940, at the 
post office at Lakeland. Florida, under ike Act of March 
n. 1879. *" " 





By Edgar Sheffield Brightman 


By Regina Westcott Wieman 


By Shirley Jackson Case 



By Homer H, Dubs 


New Chapel at Florida Southern College 474 


William Douglas Chamberlain, An Exegetical Gram- 
mar of the Greek New Testament 479 

William Wistar Comfort, Just Among Friends .... 4S0 

Martin Dibelius, The Sermon On The Mount 481 

A. Eustace Haydon, Biography Of The Gods 483 

John A. Mackay, A Preface To Christian Theology . 485 

H. Richard Niebuhr, The Meaning Of Revelation . . 487 

Edith Cooperrider Rodgers, Discussion of Holidays 

in Later Middle Ages 489 

Sister M. Alfred Schroll, Benedictine Monasticism As 
Reflected in the Warnefrid-Hildemar Commenta- 
ries On the Rule 490 

Historical Papers Of The Trinity College Historical 

Society, The Road from Monticello 491 


This issue of Religion in the Making (Volume I, Num- 
ber 4) would normally mark the end of the first volume 
and the close of the first year's subscription. But an 
Extra Number will appear next month and will be cir- 
culated free of charge. The subscription year for Volume 
11 will be postponed until November, 1941. We owe our 
readers sincere apologies for the belated appearance of 
the issues that were due in January and March. The tar- 
diness was caused by disarrangements over which we had 
no control in our printing oflUce. As compensation for 
this inconvenience we are presenting our readers with a 
complimentary fifth number. 

Our supply of Volume I, Number 1 (May, 1940), is 
completely exhausted. When we began publication we 
did not realize that the demand would be so extensive. 
Several libraries and new subscribers have expressed a 
desire to procure all back numbers. If any of our readers 
have copies of Number 1 (May, 1940) which they no 
longer wish to keep we shall esteem it a great favor to 
receive the same and will gladly pay fifty cents a piece 
for the first dozen copies returned in good condition. 


Edgar S. Brightman has been Professor of Philosophy 
in Boston University Graduate School since 1919, He 
holds higher degrees from Brown and from Boston uni- 
versities, and also honorary degrees from other institu- 
tions. He has been special lecturer at Harvard, at Duke, 
and at the University of Michigan. He has been a con- 
tributor to various learned journals and is the author of 
a dozen books in his field of interest. Among his latest 
volumes are The Problem of God, Moral Laws, Person- 
ality and Religion, and The Future of Chnstianity. 

Homer H. Dubs has been Professor of Philosophy at 
Duke University since 1937. Previously he had taught at 
the University of Minnesota and had been head of the 
department of philosophy at Marshall College. He holds 
degrees from Yale and Columbia, and has a Ph. D. from 
the University of Chicago. He spent twelve years in 
China as director of Translation of Chinese Dynastic His- 
tories for the American Council of Learned Societies and 
is a recognized authority on Chinese philosophy and lit- 
erature. He is also the author of several books. 

Dr. Regina Wcstcott Wieman (Mrs. Henry Nelson 
Wieman) is a consulting psychologist and lecturer work- 
ing in the field of individual and family adjustments. Her 
book entitled Popularity, which appeared a few years ago, 
has attracted much favorable attention; and she and Pro- 
fessor Wieman jointly wrote a significant volume on 
Normative Psychology of Religion published five years 


Bij Edgar Sheffield Bright man 

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 

What has Christian faith to do with reason, or leason 
with Christian faith? Jesus found tho ap'^orl to reason 
perfectly natural. "What thinkest thou ? ' avp.g the ques- 
tion with which he approached the mind of another. Saint 
Paul, however, was more protective of doctrine, more 
fearful of thought; philosophy and vain deceit were cou- 
pled in his mind. He miorht be somewhat alarmed at the 
idea of a book on the philosophy of revelation. On the 
other hand, John (as we may call the author of the 
Fourth Gospel) started in boldly by identifying the eter- 
nal divine power in Jesus with Logos, a te^ m which meant 
to every reader of Greek both "word" and "reason"; and 
to every reader of the Old Testament, "wisdom," the He- 
brew equivalent of reason. It is of course true that John 
found far more in the Logos than did the Greek philos- 
ophers or the Old Testament; but his use of the term 
cannot fail to suggest the continuity of Christian faith 
with reason and the absence of a sliai p break between 
the two. Carrying on the Johannine insight, Justin Mar- 
tyr in the second century rejoices to find in Heraclitus 
and Socrates the same Logos that was in Jesus Christ. 
Similar appreciation of reason and philosophy permeates 
the thought of the Alexandrian Clement and Origen. 

In that same century, Tertullian seems to defy }'eason, 
and to rejoice in a belief in "the impossible," "the 
absurd." Professor Edwin Lewis in his new book, A 
Philosophy of the Christian Religion, which is the occas- 
ion of the present discussion, has, it is true, advised us 
not to take Tertullian too exactly. Lewis declares that 
Tertullian is concerned only to warn against the absolute- 
ness of "human reason understood in the narrow sense" 
(207). This warning is commendable; but, at the same 

lEdwin Lewis, A Philosophy of tfw Christian Religion. New 
York: Harper and Brothers, 1940. xii 356 pp. $3.00. 


time, it discloses a strain which Tertullian and Lewis 
have in common: namely, a greater concern about warn- 
ing against the wrong use of reason in the narrow sense 
than about guiding the right use of reason in the broad 
sense. On the whole, then, we have before us the work 
of a spiritual descendant of Tertullian, rather than a 
member of Justin Martyr's family. When Professor Lewis 
remembers that Justin became a martyr and Tertullian a 
fanatical heretic, he may perhaps feel a little more sym- 
pathy with Christians who differ from him than he some- 
times expresses in this book. 

To associate Lewis with Tertullian is not to condemn 
him at the start or to make him a mere type. Edwin 
Lewis belongs in the great tradition of Christian think- 
ers. He has a vigorous mind, a warm heart, and a devout 
personal faith. Equipped with the scholarship of Britain 
and America, familiar with both "liberal" and "conser- 
vative" thought, he is amply prepared to set down the 
grounds of his faith in Christ. All who know him and 
count him friend — as does the present writer — are aware 
of his magnanimous and generous spirit, his respect for 
sincere differences, and his personal integrity. Yet no 
treatment of a great book would be worthy if it were 
based solely on personal admiration for the author. Every 
honest critic must bear in mind the famous words of 
Aristotle: "Plato is my friend, but truth is a greater 
friend." These words should not be taken to mean that 
Plato and Lewis have pursued error, whereas Aristotle 
and Lewis's reviewers possess truth. They mean rather 
that every mind must follow the gleam of truth which it 
sees, and never betray that vision for the sake of any hu- 
man ties. There is no place for the maxim: "What is 
the Constitution between friends?" 

Let us set forth the substance of A Philo.<^ophy of the 
Christian Revelation. In the exposition critical comments 
will be interspersed. The book is definitely and emphati- 
cally Christian, with no apologies. It begins with the 
name of "Jesus Christ," and ends, "Always must the 


Word become flesh." Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. 
■'The fact of God, the meaning of God, the purpose of 
God," he says, "are given here (in Christ) absolutely" 
(3). This is a strong word, strongly intended. Every 
chapter of the book reiterates Christ. The author is "a 
Biblicist" (140) ; and in the sense that it is nonsense to 
talk about Christianity without talking about Christ, and 
impossible to talk responsibly about Christ without 
knowledge of the Bible, Lewis is clearly right in being a 

The book is divided into three parts. Part I is entitled 
"Revelation and Record", and presents the foundations of 
Lewis's view of Scriptural revelation. He accepts the 
main results of modern critical scholarship (x), and 
guards himself against mere literalism by a careful dis- 
cussion of "Signs, Symbols and Meaning" (Chap. I). He 
admits repeatedly that the Biblical records "lack objec- 
tivity" (36) ; and he accords complete freedom to the in- 
vestigator of those records in every point except the "all- 
per\^asive theme" of "God and his purpose with men" 
(32). It seems a bit odd that this theme must be granted 
before investigation sets in ; how could anyone know a 
theme before he investigated it? And why not investigate 
it freely? At any rate, Lewis's exception is needless, for 
the freer the investigation, the clearer it is that God and 
his purposes are the theme of the Bible. In fact, Lewis 
goes so far with the "higher criticism" that he admits 
that Wrede may be right in holding that "it is impossible 
to construct a critically tenable life of Jesus" (55). Yet, 
without a critically tenable life of Jesus, we have "the 
startling fact of his resurrection" (48) on which to build. 

Although not a thorough-going Barthian, Lewis accepts 
the Barthian distinction between the Word of God and 
the words of men both as regards the Scriptures and as 
regards the creeds of the Church (67). The Christian 
Creed is not to be identified with any historical creed. 
Lewis admits that it is "perhaps impossible" to put the 
Christian creed into exact language. If at times he seems 
to forget the restrictions he has here imposed, let the 


reader not forget the magnitude and difficulty of the 
theme. The net outcome of Part I is a view of Jesus as 
"a human life in every proper sense. . .whose ultimate 
subject is the Eternal Word" (53). 

In Part II, "Exposition and Defence," the theory of 
Biblical revelation is stated more fully and more provo- 
catively (in both senses of provocative). On the one 
hand, Christianity is "an apologetic for even the crudest 
of religions" (81) ; on the other hand it is absolute, "its 
absoluteness is its essence" (82). Lawis neglects to ex- 
plain how this absoluteness is related to the parables of 
growth, or to the radical difference.^, between the synop- 
tics and John, Paul and James, the Sermon on the Mount 
and the Apocalypse. Ho finds "his absolute" in the script- 
ures (140), to which we surrender; not uncritically, not 
ruthlessly, not to a ready-made conclusion :~but surrender 
we must (140). Here the spirit of Lewis is struggling 
with the great problem of freedom and commitment; he 
is right in holding that the Christian is at once a com- 
mitted man and a free man, but it is not clear to what 
the Christian, in Lewis's thought, is committed. Is he 
committed to the authority of the Scripture as a whole? 
"Historical Christianity," he says flatly, "is authorita- 
rian" (100). Or is he committed to a growing explora- 
tion of what Jesus means and of what God is? The bulk 
of Lewis's discussion implies the former, the author- 
itarian, view, yet much points in the direction of the sec- 
ond and freer alternative. 

The chapter on "Knowledge and Certainty" contains a 
great deal that would be acceptable to the most liberal 
philosopher. There Lewis treats of "the centrality of the 
knower or person" (150), and points out that the know- 
ing process, even in scientific method, is "a combined pro- 
cess of creativity, discovery, and revelation" (151), This 
provides for ample development and leaves meager stand- 
ing ground for any external authority. Knowledge is "a 
personal achievement based on personal powers" (155). 
But unfortunately these commendable principles are bet- 


ler used by Lewis m refuting naturalism than in con- 
structing his own view. 

In Chapter 12 on "Natural and Supernatural" Lewis 
presents his fundamental metaphysics. All of the preced- 
ing discussion had centered about the authoritarian cri- 
terion of religious truth. Now we discover the metaphy- 
sics which describes the scene on which the drama of 
revelation is enacted. This metaphysics consists, not in 
a bifurcation of reality (which Whitehead rightly de- 
plores) , but in its trifurcation. Lewis's philosophy is not 
dualistic, but triadic (see 162). There are for him three 
levels of existence: the lowest level is the "non-personal 
in all its ranges," which is equated with impersonal na- 
ture; next comes tlie personal level (which seems to in- 
clude only the "humanly personal") ; and at the summit 
is "the supernatural," which alone is self-existent, and 
alone is creative. 

As a classification of levels of reality for practical pur- 
poses this may be useful; but as a metaphysics it is de- 
ficient. Personality is in an unstable position: is human 
personality supernatural, or is it a part of nature? 
Exactly what is nature and what are its limits? Again, 
why is the supernatural distinguished from the personal? 
On the surface, this view makes nature subpersonal and 
God superpersonal or in some sense impersonal. The truth 
seems to be that Lewis here is using the word pers<mal 
simply to mean human, and, in the manner of the literary 
humanists, is contrasting subhuman nature with super- 
human deity. But, aside from the bare assertion of de- 
pendence, he leaves undefined the relation between the 
supernatural and the natural, between the divine supei- 
personal (he does not use the term) and human person- 
ality. He explicitly refuses to accept Bowne's view of 
the divineness of the natural (165), while at the same 
time he seeks to retain the dependence of the natural on 
the supernatural. He is indifferent to the metaphysical 
importance of personality; indeed he is so indifferent to 
metaphysics that he can declare that once you say "God 
and — " "it does not matter much how we describe that 


which follows the 'and'" (167). If this statement is se- 
rious, then metaphysics is trivial. 

It must be granted that some acute observations are 
made about the impossibility of deriving the personalistic 
from the non-personalistic (157) and about the distinct- 
ness of God from his creation (167), and that everywhere 
an erudite knowledge of the literature is manifested. Yet 
one must challenge the strange declaration that the God 
of natui-alistic theism "is no Real Being" and "creates 
nothing, but must be created." It is unimaginable to what 
naturalistic theist Lewis is here referring: surely not to 
S. Alexander, or Whitehead, or Wieman. Lewis's words 
apply only to humanists who would repudiate all theism, 
and hardly to such humanists as reverence any power for 
good in nature. 

Equally or even more difficult are the author's state- 
ments about miracle in Chapter 14, on "The Supreme Ac- 
quiescence: Virgin Birth and Resurrection." Without dis- 
cussion of the problems of New Testament criticism (ex- 
cept to call the evidence "little enough and uncertain 
enough" (188), without a word about the faith of Paul 
snd John which seemed to be vigorous in the absence of 
reference to the Virgin Birth, without clear definition of 
what he understands the Resurrection to be, Lewis re- 
quires a faith that acquiesces in these two doctrines, as 
being necessary, if not to salvation, at least to "the com- 
I)letion of Christianity" (188). Our author is emphatic 
in insisting that these items are not to be viewed as bear- 
ing the slightest relation to any natural process, whether 
of parthenogenesis or of resuscitation. They are "sheer 
miracle, something that never could be repeated" (187) ; 
even God, he seems to say, could not reproduce the un- 

Professor Lewis is entitled to his reverent, honest be- 
lief. But it is to be regretted that he confronts his read- 
ers with the alternative of either miracle (as he conceives 
it) or "delusion, mockery, and deceit" (193-194). This 
choice, proposed as regards the empty tomb, certainly 
does not apply to the Virgin Birth. Good men, even in 


Biblical days, may have honestly believed some incorrect 
ideas. And even if the Virgin Birth is literally true in 
every detail, it cannot be essential to faith in Christ, as 
Professor G, C. Cell long ago pointed out in the class- 
room; for the eternal meaning and value of Christ cannot 
have been in any way determined or affected by any event 
in time, least of all by the way in which he happened to 
be born, although his human birth is essential to his being 
our elder brother after the flesh. As to the resurrection. 
Professor Lewis's insistence on the importance of the 
empty tomb is unfortunate for it seems to make Chris- 
tianity rest on the fate of the physical body of Christ. 
We have no historical certainty of what happened to the 
phj^sical body; and the oldest record, that of Saint Paul, 
speaks of the risen Lord as having a "celestial body." Pro- 
fessor Lewis's concern about the empty tomb is so great 
that he pushes impatiently to one side the idea that the 
risen Lord had a spiritual body (196). Since those who 
speak of a spiritual body are usually referring to Saint 
Paul's thought of a celestial body, and since the vital fact 
about the resurrection is not the empty tomb, but the liv- 
ing faith that Jesus had truly and objectively triumphed 
ever death, it would have been far better for Lewis to 
have granted that the empty tomb is unimportant and un- 
certain as compared with the living faith in the Risen 

In any event, it is regrettable to make belief in phys- 
ical events of any sort, miraculous or natural, the basis of 
the "supreme acquiescence," where "the believer is stak- 
ing his very soul on one audacious and magnificent 
throw" (196). It is logically and religiously quite needless 
to make the moral and spiritual truths of Christianity in- 
separable from belief in physical miracle; and for many, 
it is not only needless but impossible. If the two events 
happened in the exact and literal sense, the utmost gain 
would be aesthetic, not religious; to insist that the nones- 
sential is essential is to drive many seeking minds away 
from Christ, although this is the last thing that Profes- 
sor Lewis intends. 


The concluding chapters in Part III, Persistence and 
Henewal, are in some ways the best part of the book. They 
relate Christian faith to contemporary thought in compe- 
tent fashion. The author finds evolution "capable of ap- 
propriation" by Christians (218). He continues his oppo- 
sition to Biblical literalists and to "so-called Fundamen- 
talism" (285). He reveals his underlying respect for the 
intellect, hitherto somewhat obscured by his Tertullianic 
sympathies, in favorable references to Saint Thomas and 
the Neo-Thomists (231), His brief interpretation of the 
)>ook of Daniel (292) is quite in accord with modern crit- 
ical scholarship and should be required reading for 
Fundamentalists, as well as for liberals. 

In treating the problem of evil under "The Drama of 
Man's Deliverence," Lewis gives an appreciative and fav- 
orable interpretation of Berdyaev's meonic freedom, Til- 
lich's demonism, and the present reviewer's theory of The 
Given. He shows i:hat he understands generously and, in 
the m.ain, accepts what these concepts are intended to 
express. "Great and fundamental divisions," he says, 
"run across the very face of existence." In fact, the other- 
wise unsatisfactory metaphysics of Part II is meritorious 
as a statement of these divisions, hov/ever defecuve it 
may be as an interpretation of their nature and their re- 
lations. Tf Lewis were to start with the view of "God 
him.sclf as involved" in the conflict of existence (296), 
he might well develop a much more concrete and convin- 
cing metaphysics than he did. 

This book as a whole is a powerful and stirring testi- 
mony of faith, and is the noble effort of a great man to 
express his convictions with appeal to thought and to 
emotion. The points of difference which have been 
stressed in the foregoing exposition should not be taken 
to imply that the book is not worthy of study by those 
who do not agree with it. On the contrary, it should be 
perused with care by every thoughtful student, be he 
naturalist, liberal, Fundamentalist, or atheist. What has 
been going on in the mind and soul of Edwin Lewis may 
not be acceptable or convincing to any reader at every 


point; but no one can call it trivial or unimportant. There 
is something challenging on almost every pago, something 
magnificent in the total conception. 

The book is above all sincere; and it combines scholar- 
ship with avoidance of pedantry. Never has the literary 
style of Professor Lewis been more felicitous, never more 
gracious, tolerant, and persuasive, yet v/ithout any con- 
cessions to what he regards as error. "Suaviter in modo, 
iortiter in re," is a summary of the book. Its value is 
enhanced by many literary allusions, which in some chap- 
ters are perhaps over-abundant. Rich Biblical, historical, 
theological, and philosophical knowledge is manifested. 

Perhaps the chief characteristic of the book is its in- 
tense, but restrained, emotion. One can believe that it 
v/as written at a white heat. If religion is an expression 
of man's total personality, his thought, will, and feeling, 
then this book is a religious document and reading it is 
a religious experience; for a slTared religious experience 
does not depend entirely on shared ideas. It depends, 
rather, on a shared purpose. Every reader who seeks to 
fmd God through Christ will profit spiritually by reading 
this book. 

Full recognition of these merits, however, in no wa.y 
impairs the critical faculties of the reviewer, nor does it 
estop him from pointing out what seem to him to be 
defects and errors. TTie remainder of the discussion will 
be devoted to this task, not with the aim of being predom- 
inantly negative but rather in the hope of pointing out 
where the path of progress in religious thought lies. No 
one can point this out infallibly; but co-operative insights 
and mutual criticisms open the way to new truth and to 
the working of divine leadership. 

In order to develop criticism as clearly as possible, we 
shall formulate eight points at which one reader finds 
himself forced to raise objections to the book. 

(1) Its emphasis on the physical and its view of the 
miraculous. — As we have seen, Lewis regards the phys- 
ical Virgin Birth and the physically empty tomb as ob- 


jects of "supreme acquiescence." This makes physical 
miracle an item of transcendent importance. A God who 
can and does "break his way into the oixleily sequences of 
nature and history" (197) thus becomes fundamental to 
Lewis's faith. Yet it is difficult to see why Lewis stresses 
the disorderly aspect of God's action. After all, we can- 
not take disorder as the sign of God's presence, and Lewis 
hardly means to assert what his words seem to imply. 
\Vherever there is meaning, purpose, value, and reason, 
there we have signs of God. Contrariwise, wherever we 
have the unmeaning, the purposeless, the disvaluable, the 
irrational, we have signs of something against which God 
has to contend — not of his special revelation. There is 
nothing divine or Christian about the violation of law; 
the divine and the Christian are embodied only in what 
expresses rational, moral, and spiritual law. The great 
source of wonder to Browning, "All's law, yet all's love," 
seems to be rejected by Lewis, who would read: "Where 
law is, no love is ; where love is, no law is," — at least no 
natural law. Lewis would seemingly abandon the imman- 
ence of God in nature for his "triadism," as I have called 
it, a view which flies in the face of abundant evidence 
that love and spirituality are developed in and through 
the natural, and that God is always present in nature and 
liistory, however hidden he may be. Instead of viewing 
the miraculous as an intrusion into the orderly ongoings 
of nature and history, let us view nature and history as 
themselves miraculous in so far as they show forth the 
beauty and goodness and suffering love of God. With 
Bishop Berkeley let us see nature as a divine language. 
With Martin Luther let us see a miracle whenever God's 
power holds the clouds floating in the sky. If we do 
this, we can see, as does Lewis, the divine power at work 
in the physical, but also see that order, not disorder, is 
divine, and that the physical is a vehicle by which the 
superphysical, divine purposes are conveyed to man. 

(2) Lack of emphasis on the ethical a7id the social. — 
The careful student of A Philosophy of the Christian 
Religion will learn much of the supernatural, much of the 


uniqueness of Christ, much of the Virgin Birth and the 
l^esurrection, much of the errors of naturalism and pan- 
tiieism. But only incidentally and casually will he learn 
tjat Christianity is an ethical and a social religion. One 
may read that "The Christian ethics grows out of the 
Christian gospel" (130), and yet the intent of this is 
rather to disparage and subordinate than to interpret 
morality. Sin is, of course, emphatically treated (125, 
300-301) but righteousness is not explained. Is not the 
Christian revelation first and foremost a revelation of the 
nature of the good? Is it not a serious omission to treat 
of the revelation without treating of the good that it 
offers as man's goal? 

The attitude toward the social is, if anything, more 
remarkable. In only one passage does careful search re- 
veal any explicit treatment of the social, namely, on page 
20. There we are told that a man may be very selfish, 
yet fail of "fulness of life." We are told that the fruit of 
religion must be in activities which "seek to increase 
blessedness in other lives." But this statement is purely 
incidental and is intended to show that the social is not 
the highest object of devotion. "The religious man is not 
merely the socialized man," although religion must pro- 
mote socialization. The trouble with these utterances is 
not that they are false; no, they are true. The trouble is 
that they are casual, not central. The social message of 
Christ, the social setting of Christianity, its function as a 
social force in history, in changing environments, the 
social nature of the Kingdom of God, the social aims of 
the Christian — all of these are pushed to the periphery 
and are treated as though they were not of the essence 
of true religion. How can a great soul like Lewis face the 
world today without confronting the social good that 
Christ proposes, the social sins of man, and the need of a 
social and corporate, as well as of an individual redemp- 

(3) Lack of a concept of growth and development. — 
We have seen that Lewis is able to accept the main results 
of Darwinian evolution and of Biblical criticism. But the 


concept of growth does not enter vitally into his theology. 
The parables of growth, as we have seen, are neglected; 
the Christian revelation is viewed as a completed whole, 
demanding acquiescence, rather than as the seeds of a 
new life or as the spirit which will guide us into all the 
truth. The perspective of history as the gradual unfold- 
ing of the purpose of God, the advance of time as gen- 
uinely creative advance of the divine spirit does not make 
an appeal to Lewis. This correlates with the lack of 
emphasis on the social. A full doctrine of Christian reve- 
lation will, it is true, lay great stress on the Bible and on 
the initial phases of the development of Christianity; but 
the belief in God as revealer should not be restricted to 
God's activity in the first century. The acorn is pre- 
cious, but it would be a mere curiosity if it did not grow 
into the oak. If Jesus founded the church, then the whole 
history of the church is essential to an understanding of 
his religion; and if God made the world, its development 
reveals God. Professor Lewis and all of us need a better 
conception of the age-long developing work and revela- 
tion of God. 

(4) Authoritarianism. — Professor Lewis holds as we 
have seen that Christianity is authoritarian. There may 
be some sense in which this is correct. It is certainly to 
be granted that the truth should exercise authority over 
our minds and our wills. In particular, religious truth, 
truth about the fundamental values of our existence, de- 
mands the commitment of our entire being. But it is not 
so simple to locate the exact sort of authority. The creeds 
of the church have sometimes hurled anathemas at unbe- 
lievers. In so doing, they have spoken with a claim to 
authority. Yet the anathemas have added nothing to the 
spiritual force of the Christian faith in the minds of the 
judicious; on the contrary, they have weakened it by 
seeming to be a confession of failure to persuade by any 
appeal to experience and reason. The Catholic Church 
has found the seat of authority in Scripture and tradition, 
councils of the Church and official utterances of Popes. 
Over against this view, there is the appeal to the Protes- 


tant conscience; this is the ideal of facing the evidence 
of Scripture, history, and personal experience, and then 
arriving at a conscientious decision. The seat of author- 
ity here is in the soul; the person's total experience and 
reason must speak the final word of assent or dissent ; and 
no "acquiescence" (to use Lewis's word) is Protestant if 
it does not commend itself to the mind of him who ac- 
quiesces. The source of experience, of value, of salvation 
is, of course, God himself; but God is a person appealing 
to persons on the personal level, not on the level of com- 
pulsion. The authority of Christianity lies in its power 
to elicit free response; not in any dictatorial commands 
or in any sacnficium intellectus. Christ set us free from 
the law for Christian liberty. We must take care lest 
overemphasis on authoritarianism obscure "the freedom 
of the Christian man." 

(5) Lack of adequate definitions. — In a book set forth 
as a philosophy, clear definition is a prime requisite. Un- 
fortunately, the reader must seek in vain for any exact 
definition of philosophy or of the Christian revelation; as 
we have seen, there is no precise concept of authority; 
even the supernatural is not sufficiently defined in spite 
of Chapter 13; and the definition of reason is very unsat- 

(6) Treatment of the conflict between faith and rea- 
son. — There is a paragraph on faith and reason which is 
beautifully written and deeply moving emotionally, yet if 
one inquires what it means, one is baffled. In substance, 
it is as follows (181-182) : 

Reason. . .says that everywhere a great power is at 
M^ork: faith reads that power as a personal will, even 
God. Reason reports that there is simply a cosmic 
process: faith sees the cosmic process as the out- 
working of the purposes of that God . . . Reason can 
go no further than to say respecting Jesus that he was 
the Son of Mary : faith adds . . . the claim of his Son- 
ship to God. Reason, confronted with the Cross, c?.n • 
see nothing there but a broken man ... to faith that 


broken man is . . . the Lamb of God. The eyes of rea- 
son see notliing but an empty tomb; but to the eyes 
of faith that empty tomb stands for the miracle of 

One reader has struggled long to penetrate to the inner 
meaning of reason as used here, and he is frustrated. 
What kind of reason is it that can know power, but can- 
not know will? Surely will is a more rational account 
of the cosmic energy than is the abstract and indefinite 
"power." If reason can know "Cosmic process" what 
debars It from thinking about cosmic purpose? Plato, 
Aristotle, Berkeley, Hegel, Lotze, Bowne, and Whitehead 
have regarded purpose as a rational category. Why not? 
What restricts reason to purely biological inquires about 
the mother of Jesus? Cannot reason deal with questions 
of value? To see in Jesus "nothing but a broken man" 
is to take the part for the whole, and the essence of rea- 
son is that the true is the whole. Reason would require 
that every relation of Jesus to eternal divine purpose and 
value be considered. Reason is just as much obligated to 
estimate the evidence for the Resurrection as the evidence 
for the empty tomb. 

It is possible that Professor Lewis is here thinking of 
reason as the work of positivistic, descriptive science; 
but, if so, he should say "descriptive science" where he 
says "reason," and "philosophical reason" where he says 
faith, — and then, perhaps, be more cautious in what he 

(7) Theory of reason. — This leads us to the central 
difficulty with the book, namely, its really confused ac- 
count of the nature and limits of reason. 

In order to clear the way for an estimate of what Pro- 
fessor Lewis has to say let us define seven different senses 
in which the word reason is often used. 

(i) Reason is often taken to mean the system of prin- 
ciples of implication, the rules of deductive logic. In this 
sense reason is purely formal and can give no concrete 


information whatever about anything real, such as a cos- 
mic process or an empty tomb. 

(ii) Since deduction must start from premises, and 
since it seems that ultimate premises are given in intu- 
ition, reason is sometimes defined as the set of funda- 
mental intuitions on which inference depends. 

(iii) Reason is also taken to mean the sum total of the 
innate tendencies toward organization of experience (log- 
ical, moral, religious, aesthetic), the innate norms or cate- 
gories. The religious apriorists seem to have this in 
mind. In this sense also, reason is formal and is unable 
to make any concrete statements about experience. 

(iv) If we loosely connect the first and second defi- 
nitions with Aristotle and the third with Kant, we have 
a fourth definition quite different from and much broader 
than the others, which is to be connected with Hegel. This 
is the conception of reason as synoptic coherence; in this 
sense, reason is the inclusive and coherent organizing of 
experience as a whole. The ideal of reason, "the true is 
the whole," is a program for endless growth, not a set of 
dogmatic conclusions reached. Reason thus defined, as 
Royce so fittingly showed in The Sources of Religious In- 
sight, is a comprehensive survey of all available evidence, 
a mountain-top view of experience, in the light of which: 
each of our particular beliefs is tested. Reason as synop- 
tic coherence, must include all facts and all values; must 
test all aspirations of faith as well as all data of sense. 
It is impossible for reason in this sense to be set apart as 
an organ of truth separate from faith. Reason must in- 
clude and test all valid faith, all imagination, all value, 
all intuition; such reason could not be restricted to in- 
nocuous remarks about empty tombs. 

(v) Pragmatists, when they think of reason, think of 
experimental method. That method is doubtless reason- 
able and doubtless is close to the faith of a Jesus who 
said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." But unless 
the meaning of the word experiment be extended to in- 
clude every possible intellectual effort to think and inter- 
pret experience (as Kant did, when he called his Kritik 


an "experiment of thought"), we shall have to insist that 
experiment is subordinate to coherence, that its presup- 
positions and results must be interpreted by coherent 
reasoning; and that it furnishes essential data and meth- 
ods to reason as coherence, without supplying in its ex- 
periments an adequate norm. In the experimental sense, 
reason may be identified with the act of applying and 
testing the hypotheses of faith, although reason always 
presupposes that any particular formula of faith may be 
at least partially in error and hence capable of improve- 

(vi) In a still narrower sense, reason is sometimes 
(perhaps by Professor Lewis in the "objectionable" pas- 
sage) identified with the methods of a purely descriptive 
natural science. The logical positivists of today would 
describe reason as a combination of definition (i) with 
our present definition (vi). They infer from this that 
values, being neither deductively necessary nor verifiable 
in sensation, are "non-sense." But this conception of 
reasoii is contrary to the predominant usage of philos- 
ophy; and all of the results of descriptive science require 
interpretation in the broader sense. 

(vii) Finally, the word reason is often used as syn- 
onymous with reasoning, the process of thinking in ac- 
cordance with any one of the six preceding definitions. 
Ilea ;oning in this sense may, of course, be contrasted with 
scnsiivT, or loving, or believing, or any other particular 
experience. Reason as coherence must include and test 
all experience; but not all experience is reasoning. The 
experience of trust, or of prayer, or of faith in Christ, 
can occur at its best only when it is believed to be reason- 
able; but trust, prayer, and faith are not themselves acts 
of reasoning. They arc life, and life is not created by 
reasoning, although reasoning guides and interprets life. 

Now, when we look through Lewis's book and consider 
what he says about reason, it turns out to be most con- 
fusing. The claim of Christ is said to be incredible 
from the standpoint of "bare reason" (02). As we have 
seen, reason in senses (i), (ii), and (v) is of course 


irrelevant to any concrete claims of value. It is saying 
almost nothing to say that the claims of Christ are in- 
credible to formal logic. But are those claims incredible 
to the methods of coherence and experiment? If they are, 
what philosophy of revelation could consider them? If 
Christ brought only incoherence into life, and if his way 
of living yielded no experimental results, who would con- 
tinue to believe in him? 

Lewis himself says that "the act of faith is. . . suscep- 
tible of the most complete rational defence" (138) ; yet. 
in the same chapter he closes with the incomprehensible 
statement that "the gi'eat'^st proof of Christ is that he 
cannot be proved." (143) For coherent reason, it is true, 
no concrete proposition can be completely proved; but to 
call the lack of proof the greatest proof is sheer paradox. 
When dealing with Saint Thomas, Lewis grants that 
"we should believe nothing without good reasons" (147; 
see also 155 and 231). Lewis rightly speaks of the New 
Testament as, in part, "a vast intellectual achievement;" 
he calls the traditions of Christian liberalism "noble" 
(229). The best treatment of reason in the book is on 
252-253 where reason is called "a power of interpreta- 
tion," substantially equivalent to coherence. Faith, our 
author says, may be called "a higher rationality" (81), 

Since Lewis says so much that is sensible about reason, 
why should he have made the artificial contrast between 
reason and faith which was quoted above? How could 
he declare that Christ was best proved by being unprov- 
able? Why should a man with faith in a reasonable God 
say that if the psychology of illumination could be com- 
pletely described "we should lose thereby and not gain"? 
(256) Why should he say that reason is but "an instru- 
ment of man's bafflements"? (276) Why should he not 
regard it as a window toward God, a sign of man's open- 
ness to new truth? In the end, the cause of reason and 
the cause of faith stand or fall together; witness the dis- 
aster to faith in contemporary social irrationalism. 

We leave this book with the consciousness of high 
respect for a devout and learned mind, and at the same 


growing and has not said its last word. Every woi'd from 
Professo]' Lewis is a sincere and weighty utterance, and 
the critical examination of his thought in this article is 
a tribute to a book that is woith examining. It must be 
added that the book, with its conception of a revelation 
demanding acquiescence, is a challenge to a journal called 
Religion in the Making. The reader must wrestle for 
himself with the problem: Is religion something long ago 
delivered to the saints, once for all, so to speak ready- 
made, or is it genuinel.y in the making? Is the Word a 
dogma or a Word of Life? Is Jesus a fixed model, or 
seed sower, and soil, sun and rain for the Christian? 
"What think ye?" 

After writing the foregoing article, I adopted the un- 
usual course of showing it to Professor Lewis and asking 
for his opinion of it. His reply was so delightful and 
informing that I have asked and received his peiTnission 
to print it along with my original article, and to supple- 
ment it with a brief comment. The letter follows : 

My dear Professor Brightman : 

I am sure I do not need to tell you how greatly I ap- 
preciate your courtesy in permitting me to see a copy of 
your review of my recent book, nor do I need to say how 
greatly I appreciate your generous treatment of the book 
itself. The fact that you felt it worthy of so long and 
careful a review is a tribute far greater than I had any 
right to expect. 

So far as the book as a whole is concerned, I am sure 
that you see what I set out to do. There is one funda- 
mental misapprehension on your part, however (if I may 
use so strong a word), which I believe accounts for much 
of your detailed disagreement. It has to do with the faith- 
reason distinction. I recognize and insist upon the dis- 
tinction, but I had not the least intention of carrying dis- 
tinction over into opposition. The sentences you quote 
from pp. 181-182 of my book do indeed express exactly 
what T mean. If there is no difference in attitude toward 
the proposition, "There is cosmic process," and the propo- 


time with the conviction that this mind has not ceased 
sition, "The cosmic process is the outworking of the pur- 
])Oses of a God of love," why is it that so many accept the 
first and deny the second? Or between the proposition, 
"Here is a Man on a Cross," and the proposition, "This 
Man on a Cross is the Son of God, giving himself for me 
agreeably to the will of God," and so on ? The first prop- 
osition is rationally inescapable, the second is not. I have 
to "vote" for the second as I do not have to "vote" for the 
first. The first is coersive; the second, at most, is per- 
suasive, calling for my assent in a fashion which is not 
true of the first. Or (if you will pardon the illustration), 
take these two propositions: "You (E.S.B.) are Borden 
Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy in Boston Uni- 
versity," and "You (E.S.B.) are my (E.L.'s) friend." 
I submit that they are not identical propositions; that an 
element of will is called for in my accepting the second 
which is not called for in my acceptance of the first. 

I honestly cannot get away from such a distinction and 
all that it implies. Whether the terms "reason" and 
"faith" are the best to use in the connection may be de- 
bated. I do not mean that faith is irrationality; that is 
the last thing I could think of myself as saying. All the 
time I say that faith is the supreme achievement of what- 
ever there is that makes man an intelligent and rational 
being. When I use reason to justify the act of faith, am 
I then despising reason? Rather, I honor it, for I say 
thereby that but for reason there could be no faith. I 
agree entirely with w^hat you say at the end of your point 
(vii), under criticism (7). 

If this much be allowed me, then I think many of your 
detailed criticisms would be seen to be unnecessary. You 
would not call me "a spiritual descendant of Tertullian." 
I refer to Tertullian only twice (pp. 115,207), and the 
second reference ought to be read in the light of the first. 
(Curiously enough, I have .iust finished a three week pe- 
riod with the Juniors on Origen, and have come near 
turning my class into Origenists! — which is a long wajr 
from what your characterization would imply.) 


I am much farther away from Barth than your refer- 
ence would imply. I see that my use of the word "author- 
itarian" is likely to be misleading. I certainly do not use 
the word in, say, the Roman Catholic sense. I do, of 
course, believe that there is such a thing as "the Chris- 
tian revelation," and that I am called upon to accept it. 
In that sense, it is authoritarian. But since I allow the 
distinction between "truth" and "form", it ought to be 
apparent that I am not speaking of any purely dogmatic 

I think you give the impi-ession to a readei- that I make 
much more of the "empty tomb" (as S2ich) than is ac- 
tually the case. I use the expression only once or twice 
in the two chapters, and I expressly say that the empty 
tomb is a Kign. My interest is not primarily with the 
sign, but with the thing signified. This principle, indeed, 
explains the reason for Chapter One. It is not belief in 
the empty tomb, but in what the empty tomb was taken 
to mean respecting Christ himself, that I am personally 
concerned about. Similarly with the Virgin Birth. // a 
van can believe just the same about Jesus Christ, about 
God, about the relations between this Christ, this God, 
and this world, ivithout the Virgin Birth as he can with 
it, then his rejection of the Birth would not greatly 
trouble me. But can he? — I mean, can he "coherently"? 
If you say "Yes," then all right; but in that case, I can- 
rot see the least reason why the Birth should still be to 
liim an insuperable obstacle. 

A word as to the greatest proof of Christ being "that 
he cannot be proved." I suppose it is not too happy a 
way of saying what I mean. But to me, Christ is an ulti- 
mate in his own order, and an ultimate cannot be 
"proved." In the end, I must choose Christ. This re- 
quires also that I must choose how to conceive this Christ 
1 must choose. There are various ways of conceiving him 
— and you know what they are as well as I do. One of 
these ways represent. I believe, the way that is most 
nearly true — the way that, on the whole, is embodied in 
Christian history. This is the way I have chosen for my- 


self, and the book sets forth what it is, and why I have 
made the choice. Having done that, I see nothing else to 
do but to take what goes with it. Among other things, a 
metaphysic goes with it. In fact, if there is one thing 
more than another in your review that really troubles me, 
it is that I must have failed to make it plain that I am 
concerned with metaphysics — the metaphysics properly 
called for by the Christian faith. 

The omission of any particular treatment of the ethical 
and social aspects of the Revelation must not be construed 
as indifference on my part to these aspects. For one 
thing, I felt that my general theme set very definite limits 
to the discussion. I hope, however, that when the Quil- 
lian Lectures are published, you will be convinced that I 
am not wanting in "the social sense." The subject of the 
lectures is A Sew Heaven and a Xeiv Earth, and the last 
lecture of the series is on the question, "Shall the New 
Earth Be? The Christian ethic is the proper fi^iitage of 
the Christian faith. I realize that many have accepted 
the faith, but have ignored the ethic. Yet it is surely no 
proper cure of that to abandon the faith, for in that case 
the ethic also is "dead and done for." 

May I say once more that I am deeply appreciative of 
your whole attitude. I am sure that much of our differ- 
ence lies at the point of our main business. So many of 
our boys come having no message, and I am much con- 
cerned to see that they get one. I suppose that that ab- 
sorption at times makes me a little impatient at points 
where a philosopher like yourself must move more criti- 

Yours Sincerely, 

Edwin Lewis. 

The foregoing letter requires very little comment. It 
i? refreshing to learn so clearly that Professor Lewis 
holds reason in such high esteem as he does, that he does 
not regard the literal Virgin Birth (despite its place in 
a Chapter heading) or the literal empty tomb as essential 
objects of faith, that he would rather be associated with 
Origen than with Tertullian (even the somewhat rational- 


ized Tertullian of his book), and that he is concerned 
i;bout metaphysics and the social problem. 

Two points, however, should be mentioned. First, as 
to faith tind reason. It seems evident from the letter that 
my concentration on the meaning of reason was pretty 
close to the bull's eye, for Professor Lewis now proposes 
to regard reason as "the inescapable." There are only 
two areas, it seems to me, in which we can speak rigor- 
^ously of "the inescapable," namely, logical implication and 
ompirical fact. But "cosmic process" and "empty tomb" 
are neither the former nor the latter. Plainly they are 
not logical necessities. Neither are they empirical facts, 
for the only empirical facts are human sensations and 
other human experiences, whereas "cosmic process" and 
"empty tomb" are theoretical constructs. The former is 
very probable; the latter rests on far less evidence; 
neither is entirely inescapable, as solipsism testifies. What 
Professor Lewis calls reason or coercion is simply prob- 
able rather than hypothesis applied to description of 
facts; what he calls faitli or persuasion is on its logical 
side, probable rational hypothesis applied to interpreta- 
tion of values. There is, of course, more difference of 
opinion abount values than about facts, but that is a dif- 
ference among rational philosophies, not a mere differ- 
once in choice or taste. 

The second point (which concerns metaphysics) may 
be made more briefly. If metaphysics is important, as 
Lewis and I agree it is, then it is either a free, rational 
investigation of all available evidence, or it is not. If it 
is, then it is no mv^re appendage to or implication of the 
Christian Revelation, wholly determined by it, regardless 
of other facts and reasons. If it is not free, rational in- 
vestigation, then it ceases to be metaphysics in the proper 
sense at all. Saint Thomas would not acknowledge such 
a metaphysic. The essence of truth is that its parts cohere 
without artificial protection. The truth is nevei- in peril 
from free examination. In spite of verbal differences, I 
think that Professor Lewis really accepts this view. At 
any rate, he and I both need to dig harder on our meta- 
physical home-work. 


By Regina Westcott Wieman 

Chicago, Illinois 

The smoke curling and belching out of smoke-stacks 
niay have several meanings for several minds. We who 
dwell in smoggy cities like Chicago are likely to see it 
only as a choking, smudging nuisance. So saw I until 
Eugene O'Neill opened my eyes farther through his play, 
The Hairy Ape. Therein is an unforgettable scene. A 
stoker is singing at his work, deep in the hold of a mighty 
steamship. Stripped to the waist, his dusky bronze body 
drips with perspiration as he heaves coal under the 
ship's engine. When he started his job, he was only an 
individual receiving pay for stoking an engine. But he 
has been on the job a long time. He has come to know 
the ship, the owner and his fellow workers in such a way 
that he feels that he belongs. The smoke pouring out of 
the smokestack of "his" ship is a symbol that he and the 
other stokers count in this great, throbbing, ongoing 
enterprise of ship-driving. He is important to everyone 
on the ship, to the owner, and, he believes, to the mem- 
bers of the owner's family whom he has not seen. His 
sense of belonging is unformulated but so deeply rooted 
that he is strong, secure, confident and dynamic. His satis- 
faction from sensing that he is a necessary and appre- 
ciated part of a going whole brims over into song. 

Then one day the daughter of the owner decides to take 
her friends over the ship. Dressed in the smart sport 
clothes intended for wear on the immaculate upper decks 
of the boat, they finally start down the stairs into the 
hold. Just as the daughter pauses on the steps, holding 
back her skirt from the grime and hesitating to go far- 
ther into the murk and stink, the stoker looks up. He 
pauses too, a shovelful of coal poised in the air between 
coalbunker and the fiery bed. He sees spreading over her 
face a look of repulsion and disgust. In that fatal instant, 
his sense of belongingness is snuffed out forever. The fire 


in the engine can go out now so far as he is concerned. 
The smoke can stop curling and belching from the funnel. 
They are no longer symbols of his belongingness. His web 
of connectedness has been rudely destroyed. All the 
motivating meaning has gone out of his life. He no longer 
cares what happens to himself, to the ship, to anybody. 

The Web of Meaning 

The hunger to belong is inherent in mankind. Modern 
conditions have made it so difficult to satisfy this hunger 
that inarticulate anxieties, confusions and perversions 
have spread widely among all ages and classes. In count- 
less individuals it has deepened into a craving, strong but 
often misinterpreted. We are feeling intensely this famine 
cf quality and meaning in actual life, but we do not know 
what the real food is nor how to get it. Many of us are 
becoming somewhat frantic in our efforts to hold onto 
whatever we vaguely sense has something to do with keep- 
ing our universe a meaningful whole and keeping our- 
selves meaningfully connected with it. Indeed, the word, 
security, leaps into headline after headline. It has become 
the magic word for political exploiters and the weighted 
word for sincere statesmen. 

The psychological reaction-pattern when experiencing 
insecurity is fear. There are maddening and devastating 
fears everywhere today. In the economic field thousands 
upon thousands feel the filaments making up the web of 
social connectedness stretching hazardously thin or actual- 
ly giving way. When the web breaks, the sense of security 
falls, and living personages with it. We say these victims 
are "down and out." So they are. They have lost their 
place in the fabric of interconnected living so far as in- 
dustry is concerned. They don't belong any more. There 
are fully as many who are down and out in the other 
major areas of human interest, not excepting religion. 
"The return to religion" is, in many cases, only a self- 
centered effort to exploit the resources of religion for 
some means by which to bolster up a fast-crumbling sense 
of personal security. 


What is really happening is that we are trying to es- 
tablish and maintain personal relations according to pat- 
terns which no longer work. Our cherished patterns for 
securing meaning in human relations were developed in a 
relatively simple web of social connectedness, marked by 
much first-hand contact over long periods of time. Still 
living by these, we cling to individual persons, particular 
institutions, some traditional political party, or one geo- 
graphical location, as though each were indispensable to 
the meaning of life. In such a case, the individual requires 
repeated reassurance that he still has the vital connections 
with that particular person or kind of situation or hearti- 
ness of response with which he has become familiar. He 
suffers terrifically whenever he must witness under his 
very eyes the slow but sure cutting off of any one such 
umbilical relation. He is exceedingly vulnerable. He can 
be seriously disorganized by the defeat of his party or his 
team, by a hard blow to his institutions, or by the death 
of a loved one. What he does for others must be par- 
ticularly appreciated and his prayers must be specifically 
answered. If his cries are anguished or his resistance to 
change frantical, it is not lack of morale. His conviction 
15. deep that his very existence is threatened. He feels that 
he will go down when that which he has identified him- 
self with goes down. He is trying to save his very life. 

Today the web of social connectedness has become a 
web of many webs ever connecting with still more webs. 
We can no longer depend upon unchanging continuing 
relations with particular individuals. Our significant 
identity and meaningful place must be found otherwise. 
Even in those relationships which are relatively con- 
tinuous we must no longer make the mistake of 
identifying the individual involved in the relationship 
with the value we experience. Each of us has been inclined 
to think that my child, my house, my firm, my club, my 
party, and my idea of God, constitute the cherished 
abundance of life. These are not the centers but only the 
instruments or carriers of meaning. Actually they are 
never the centers. In the past we have been able to think 


so because living was carried on in such a way that the 
meaning of life grew despite our mistaken belief about the 
true identity and location of value. But the conditions 
have now become so complex that we can no longer harbor 
this error and secure the values. We are hectically search- 
ing for something we feel we have missed, as much in a 
panic as is a very hungry baby who has lost the mother's 
nipple. Only our task is not so simple as that of the infant 
who needs only to reestablish a lost connection. We must 
analyze the situation to discover what is wrong. 

Conditions are forcing us to find personal relations in a 
world where there can be little continuity of association 
with particular individual persons and groups in abiding 
conditions. Catastrophe almost surely occurs in personal 
relations which are exclusively identified in a fixated 
way with particular persons or groups. Therefore we must 
learn to seek and find our personal relations with indi- 
viduals who come and go, with groups which change their 
personnel, and amid conditions which never remain the 
same for long. This necessitates a self-conscious com- 
mitment to the creativity that generates such relations 
rather than to the particular individuals with whom we 
have had such relations. We must shift ourselves away 
from a pattern of devotion which binds us to one set of 
individuals in a particular situation under a particular 
set of conditions, /""sychotherapy has a label for such 
cramping, stunting relations — self -identification. Instead, 
we must find the s^-turce of security in that process where- 
by personal relations are generated, maintained, and en- 
riched under all sorts of conditions with changing 
participants and unpredictable situations. Expressed theo- 
logically, this means that we must devote ourselves to the 
living God who generates, maintains and enriches re- 
lationships. Specific individual persons or institutions are 
needed for rich fulfillment at any one time, but in every 
new situation personal relations and security must be 
found in a new form. We become interwoven in the web 
of meaning by devoting ourselves to this creativity work- 
ing among us. 


Personal relations are always triangular, God being the 
third member. This triangularity of our personal rela- 
tions was largely hidden so long as our attachment could 
fix itself upon certain persons and situations as 
though they were the source for us of all the goods of 
life. But the obscurity of the third member is removed 
when social change necessitates constant shiftings. We 
then see that personal relations do not depend so much 
upon particular situations and persons as upon the cre- 
ativity of life which generates them. 

To the extent that community is created, we experience 
the love of God. The love of God reaches us most con- 
tinuously and vividly in community and in the sense of 
belonging. The love of God is round about us, upholding 
us, and transmitting values to us in so far as community 
is created round about us. This is the love of God. The 
love of God is not some private attention we get from 
God apart from other men, but it is the forming of the 
web of meaning which is the connectedness between our 
lives and the lives of others. "He that knoweth not love, 
knoweth not God." 

The Personal Relation 

The personal relation, then, is a creative one. In it 
the primary concern of each participant is threefold: 
(1) to understand the *valuings of every other partic- 
ipant in any one experience of this relationship; (2) to 
express freely and fully his own valuings as honestly as 
he is able: and (3) to be motivated by valuings more or 
less created by this relationship into which he has en- 

The basic factor in each specific relation is not any one 
individual person or institution. It is not the importance 
or validity of any one valuing, not even of one proved in- 
fallible — at the time. The paramount factor is the inter- 
action of valuings out of which personal relations grow 

*By valuings of a person we mean his interests, prejudices, atti- 
tudes, ambitions, cherished habits and ideals, aversions, loves and 
hates, and all other forms of his predispositions. 


anew continuously. This interaction arouses and develops 
the appreciative consciousness of each participant. It lit- 
erally creates us. 

Each participant enters into any one experience of in- 
teraction with his own set of achieved attitudes, habits, 
ideas and ruling loyalties. To the extent that his inter- 
action with others is characterized by the threefold re- 
quirement cited above, each participant comes out of the 
experience with re-created attitudes, habits, ideals and 
ruling loyalties. This re-creating process may take sev- 
eral directions. It may result in the strengthening and un- 
derstanding of the very valuings which he brought into 
the relationship. It may result in some modifying and 
j-e-ordering of these predispositions. It may introduce 
new^ values which enrich and enlarge his established sys- 
tem of goods. It may introduce new values which bring 
about a change in the ruling concern of his life. 

It is little wonder that we sometimes become radiant 
during interaction with others when it reaches the crea- 
tive level. We are then in the very presence of God. 
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I also." Creative interaction is always stimu- 
lating. This stimulation is not expressed, however, in 
any one emotional reaction-pattern. Indeed, the emo- 
tional pattern changes with the progress or halting or 
conflict of the interaction. It may run the gamut, includ- 
ing eagerness to press on, zeal for cherished or new-found 
\alues, anger when valuings clash, hate made up of 
respect and fear, sympathy, ecstasy, and all the rest. In 
fact, human emotion is the all-over organic reaction to 
any shift, actual or threatened, in an individual's con- 
figuration of values. Since creative interaction trans- 
forais this configuration, the experience of it is vividly 
emotional. When the established order of valuings is dis- 
turbed, the human being is disturbed, whether with joy 
01 pain. This disturbance is inseparable from the work- 
ing of creative interaction, for it forces the disturbed in- 
dividual to a keener appreciation of the values involved 
and so prepares him for whatever change is required in 


order to develop a closer community between himself and 
the other participants. 

It is essential to the understanding of personal relations 
to note particularly that "love" is not the distinguishing 
criterion of them, nor even a distinguishing mark. Human 
love characterizes some personal relations but not most. 
To be sure, love tends to grow (1) where creative inter- 
action is continued for some period of time, (2) when the 
valuings which are shared are significant and intimate, 
and (3) when the personalities of the participants are 
such that creative interaction between them seems to be 
uniquely rich in quality and meaning. Love is based upon 
a disposition of sensitivitv and responsiveness wherein 
one person finds self-fulfillment in his relations with the 
other. If the love is deep, each feels that the continuing 
of the meaning of life in the area of shared interests de- 
pends upon the continuing of the relationship. It is only 
through creative interaction that love can be developed. 
Nevertheless, not all creative interaction develops love 
or is marked by love. 

In everyday living there are uncounted typical situa- 
tions where creative interaction can occur without love — 
buying and selling, recreational activities, teaching and 
learning, the planning and building of a house, co-oper- 
ative scientific research, significant conversation between 
strangers, professional psychological interviews, and so 
on and on. Without doubt, love may grow in any one of 
these personal relations, but we should not look for its 
presence here. It is not the important thing. In fact, in 
some personal relations, its growth is disastrous to the 
important thing, because love is an alien principle in the 
experience at hand. This is so markedly true that it is 
incumbent upon us to see to it that we do not share these 
more intimate interests with others which facilitate the 
growth of love in relations where such growth is incon- 

There is legitimate ground for the expression, "Busi- 
ness is business." The relation of buying and selling, for 
instance, is no place for sentimentality or charity in the 


sense of taking pity on those not involved in any way in 
the business transaction. Creative interaction in business 
requires that each participant seek to understand the val- 
uings of every person entering in, or affected by, the busi- 
ness at hand, that every participant express freely and 
fully his own valuings as honestly as he can, and that 
every participant (direct or indirect) be motivated by 
valuings more or less newly created by the community of 
valuings which is developing between all the participants 
in the business at hand. The more creative interaction 
there is in business, the less need the world will have for 
charity in the form of donations. In fact, our economic 
stalling is due largely to the exploitive nature of business 
interaction. Creative interaction is good for business. 
It is appearing here and there in the field of industry, 

Just as there are activities which are better carried on 
by creative interaction which is not love, so there are ac- 
tivities which are better carried on by interaction which 
is not creative. These are the instrumental activities, our 
mechanical and routinized means of furthering the more 
significant activities. Examples of them are dealing with 
a railway company during travel, ordering food in a res- 
taurant, attending the usual type of reception, working 
in the assembly line of an automobile factory, marketing 
in a chain store, taking care of seriously disabled individ- 
uals, and working as a member of a large organization 
where complications require regimentation in certain 
areas. Ordinarily in these activities there is none of the 
give and take of valuings which changes the personalities 
of the participants. Each is a self-contained unit. His 
personality is not being substantially modified by the in- 

The essential mark then which distinguishes a bona 
fide personal relation from any other is one in which 
interaction creates and recreates the personalities of those 
who participate, giving to each a sense of belonging. This 
occurs at a level so deep that each is inevitably and con- 
tinuously caught into the weaving of the web of connect- 


edness. His security cannot be seriously impaired by 
anything which he himself is or does, because he belongs 
not by permission or invitation but by essential connec- 
tion with the whole. A little baby is born into the world. 
He does not earn his place in that web of connectedness 
called the family. It is not what he does or says that 
gives him place. His personal relations are based upon 
his being placed in such a social situation that he is auto- 
matically caught into the growth of connections between 
himself and others. This it is which creates his person- 
ality as a member of a true community where each 
creates the otlier. Each is a member of the other and 
each is incomplete without the other. Proof that the 
baby belongs can be found in the fact that his going 
would rend the web of meaning which makes life worth- 
ful for the others. 

Just so does the child brought up by Americans become 
a participant in that web of connections called "America." 
Further, if he lives in New England, he becomes a par- 
ticipant in that web of connections called "New England." 
So likewise he becomes connected into the "Democratic" 
or "Republican" part5% into the Anglican or the Nazarene 
Church, into the circle who support vers libre or the clas- 
sics, and so on and on. His belongingness roots back into 
his participation in creative interaction with persons and 
institutions composing his essential situations in life. He 
did not choose them nor they him. Neither can he resign 
from them nor can they excommunicate him in any basic 
sense. His belongingness is ingrained. His valuings are 
inextricably a part of the valuings of all those with whom 
he has personal relations. His personal relations have 
created him. He cannot run away from home, however 
far his feet may wander. He cannot desert his native 
community, however distant may be his new place of resi- 
dence. Home and community are, in essence, webs of 
meaningful connectedness. This is true of all genuine 
relations, for these all create the personalities of each 
participant and constitute his life-sustaining meanings. 


The Sense of Belonging 

The sense of belonging is not nearly the stable thing 
that belongingness is. Belongingness is so deep-laid and 
so much a part of ourselves that we are not aware of it 
until it is disturbed. Hence the sense of belonging as over 
against the fact does not arise unless one of four things 
happens. First, the individual may be partially deprived 
of some of his connections, such as by moving his place 
of work, by divorce, or by his own over-preoccupation 
with self-interests. Second, the individual may see others 
in personal relations different from his own, whether bet- 
ter or worse. This occurs, for example, when little chil- 
dren begin to go to the homes of neighbors to play. Third, 
something may happen which causes the individual to 
fear the possibility of loss of some personal connections. 
Whether this happening occurs on a local or national 
scale, it breaks confidence with which he took his web of 
meaning for granted. Such a break is vividly portrayed 
in Daudet's story, "The Last Lesson." The poignant clutch- 
ing of the little French children for every precious 
French word on this last day of school before the German 
language becomes the required tongue is heart-stirring. 
Fourth, the individual may have misinterpreted some one 
or more of his connections with the web of meaning into 
w^hich he was born and grew. Then, acting upon this mis- 
interpretation, he "misbehaves." This brings on a se- 
quence of events which issues in an interaction of val- 
uings between himself and other members of the group 
wherein his "misbehavior" has threatened his belonging- 
ness. This awakens his se7ise of belonging of which he 
was unaware. A high school boy may rise from a sick 
bed before the doctor permits in order to play an impor- 
tant football game with his team. Almost fatal pneu- 
monia ensues. As the boy witnesses and shares the strain 
of his mother and father during the critical days, there 
is aroused in him a deep awareness of his belongingness 
to his family. He is made more conscious of his place 
in that web of connectedness called "my family." 

Among maladjusted persons, the acute disturbance of 


the sense of belonging is a frequently occurring cause of 
seemingly unrelated symptoms. Diagnosis yields the in- 
sight that the devilishly mean child feels that he has been 
rejected by his parents who favor his sister, the good, 
little "angel child" who knows how to work them without 
giving them any trouble; that the very cross, impatient 
mother feels desperately insecure because of her hus- 
band's marital infidelity; and that a man's jags of irre- 
sponsible behavior, whereby his family suffers terrifically 
in a number of ways, are manifestations of his acute eco- 
nomic insecurity. 

We are so made that a serious disturbance of our sense 
of belonging inevitably affects our organic functioning in 
both overt and inner aspects. Every resultant emotional 
wave that passes through us stimulates the autonomic 
nervous system with its control over glands and unstriped 
muscles. Through these processes the controls over the 
striped muscles are affected, whereupon the set and toni- 
city of the whole organism are modified. A strong sense 
of belonging is essential to physical and mental health. 
It is no wonder then that today, when there is both so 
much insecurity and so little understanding of the true 
source of security, we have an increasing amount of basic 

Added to these factors in the increase of basic mal- 
adjustment having to do with disturbed sense of belong- 
ing, there is a third. It is the deluding imagining that 
one's belongingness is endangered by certain threats or 
breaks. Thus far our schooling, both formal and inci- 
dental, has taken little account of personal relations or 
the values which these yield. Except for some rule-of- 
thumb guidance and some superficial tuition by books of 
etiquette or a "charm school," the average youth is left to 
flounder about in his efforts to locate himself securely in 
society's web of meaning. On the one hand, he gets very 
little sound guidance in understanding himself and other 
persons and in interpreting human behavior. On the other 
hand, he is not introduced to society on sufficiently realis- 
tic and comprehensive terms to allow him to build a per- 


spective by which to understand and participate. Hence 
he is subject not only to actual breaks in personal rela- 
tions but also to imagined ones. However unreal the lat- 
ter, they are as disturbing as the actual ones, probably 
more so since there is less chance of their being corrected 
by direct interaction. These illusory threats are of all 
degrees of seriousness starting with imagined slights or 
indignities and including unfounded suspicions that the 
individual's very life is in jeopardy. The fear accompany- 
ing unwarranted threats occurs also in varying degree, all 
the way from an unreasonable feeling of inadequacy to 
constant panic over the ominous sense or doom oppressing 
this country or the world. 

The tragic aspect of these cases of maladjustment 
based upon imagined breaks in belongingness is the con- 
sequent disruptive behavior of the affected individuals 
which is likely to put too severe a strain upon certain of 
their personal relations. Treating them is difficult because 
their imagined break may be either hidden in the far past 
or camouflaged by rationalizations clever enough to make 
it appear presentable. In any case, the discovery and 
exorcising of it is essential to normal outlook and be- 
havior. A fallacious valuing, however sincerely held, 
either obstinicts or perverts personal interaction. 

Family Nurture of Belongingness. 

It is in those personal relations where love is appro- 
priate and enriching that the most intimately painful mal- 
adjustments in belongingness arise. The person who is 
not lovable is likely to believe that he does not belong. 
As a matter of fact, he does belong to all essential groups 
where the membership is involuntary, i.e. groups that 
he is born, and has grown, into, such as family, com- 
munity, nation, school, and church if he has been reared 
in one. It is one of the marvels of life that he, however 
unlovable, continues to belong, that he cannot entirely cut 
himself off from creativity so long as he lives. Belonging 
does not guarantee that the conditions for living will be 
shaped to suit the individual's likes, idiosyncrasies and 


fancies. The very pain he suffers when his value-habits 
and value-ideals clash with the value-habits and value- 
ideals of other members of these webs of connectedness is 
potentially the means of his re-creation from unlovable- 
ness to lovableness. 

The chief reason why an only child has such a hard 
time in life is that his parents protect him from the 
clashes between his elementary valuings and those of 
others more culturally mature. The children of a parent 
who has exaggerated inferiority awareness are equally cut 
off from the creativity of life in many instances. Such 
a parent cannot face any fact arising out of everyday 
events which indicates a fault in himself or his children. 
Consequently, he cannot allow his children to be criti-^ 
cized or to suffer the rebuffs they very much need in 
order to become more mature in their valuings. 

One of the most irreligious things a parent can do is to- 
stand in the way of interaction between the valuings of 
his children and the valuings of other persons not of the 
immediate family. Children so over-protected have diffi- 
culty in their personal and group relations. This difficulty 
usually continues through their later years so that they 
are likely to stand in the way of their own children in turn. 
Such families tend to have a pathological type of family 
solidarity, since it must be based upon mutually agreed- 
upon distortions of the truth not acceptable by persons 
outside the family. No matter what grades the members 
get in school (teachers' valuings), or what treatment or 
iitatus they are given as a result of crude or transgressing 
behavior (valuings of the community), or what treat-^ 
ment, status and pay they receive as employees, (valuings 
of organized industry) , the status-hungry parent ardently 
lauds them to their faces and to other persons. He and 
the other members of the family tend to develop the un- 
shakable conviction that "a Jones is always right." Such 
conditions lead inevitably to the place where the only web 
of connectedness in which the members feel adequate 
security is their own family. Here the interests, the con- 
versation, and the loyalty are always family-centered. 


Since the family has developed a more or less illusory 
world for its members, these find it increasingly impos- 
sible to interact appropriately, much less creatively, with 
those outside the family who are better oriented toward 

This is to say that the family should not protect the 
members from certain experiences of interaction of valu- 
ings — experiences which would leave scars without pro- 
moting growth. One of the functions of the family is to 
provide a selected environment conducive to growi:h. The 
best environment for growth is that one in which there 
is the greatest amount of creative interaction consistent 
with the constitution of the actual organism and of the 
specific environment in case. Parents meet a peculiar 
problem here, for they cannot safely depend upon their 
own valuings as final criteria for selecting what valuings 
shall enter into the situations of their several children. 
Their own valuings are limited and erroneous in ways 
both known and unknown to them. Nor can they be 
guided by the emotional reactions of their children. It is 
child-nature to try to force the operative situation into 
that shape which gives them the most pleasure and the 
least disturbance and pain. FurtheiTnore they soon dis- 
cover how much a parent is influenced by their show of 
feelings. The more intelligent they are, the more skilful 
use they make of their discovery to get their own way, 
i.e., live by their own valuings. Since every child is dif- 
ferent, there can be no fixed criteria for inclusion and ex- 
clusion of valuings. Each parent must get as much light 
as possible from authorities in the field, must observe and 
experiment honestly in areas where he can get no ade- 
quate resources for guidance, and must discuss the ex- 
tension and limitation of valuings with others having 
genuine concern about these matters. But most of all, 
every parent must keep a worshipful attitude in all his 
evaluating and in making resultant choices. Certainly he 
must act upon the best valuings he has at any one time, 
but he must do so with the sure knowledge that these are 
incomplete and imperfect, and with the sincerity that 


makes him ready to learn, and to allow his children to 
learn, even when this involves suffering for all. This is 
but another way of saying that the parent's first devoticn 
shall be to that creativity which is at work through the 
interaction of our valuings. Only so can parents grow 
fast enough to be safe trustees of children. 

Much of the trouble blamed upon the marriage relation 
should be put squarely upon the immaturity of an individ- 
ual who has not grown into a full person. He has not 
been trained in creative interaction and so experienced 
the greater values which would have won his supreme de- 
votion to it. Hence he has some form of temper tantrum 
whenever any one of his valuings is questioned or re- 
jected. He seeks sjonpathy because he "cannot find any 
one with whom he can have deep community." Or he 
may put it "any one whom he can love through and 
through." The facts of the case are that he can find no 
one who will accept and adore his valuings without ques- 
tion or modification. At heart he does not want creative 
interaction, however much lip service he may give it. He 
wants the comfort and the flattery of a complete unanim- 
ity based entirely upon his own valuings. But even he is 
not "lost" so long as he is a member of some group con- 
taining one or more persons who have the courage and 
energy to keep on trying to interact creatively with him. 
Such persons usually have to pay a terrific price for their 
loyalty, since their efforts toward creative interaction 
may meet not only extreme resistance but even ugly treat- 
ment and possibly direct orders to desist from expressing 
themselves at any time when their valuings do not con- 
form to those of the individual in question. 

Every one of us tends to commit himself wholeheart- 
edly to creative interaction — so long as it happens to be 
letting him think his own thoughts, pamper his own prej- 
udices, and go his own way. We grow warm fast toward 
the friend, lecturer, or minister who speaks back to us 
our own convictions. Yet continued accord in valuings 
usually issues in a sense of belongingness which is treach- 
erous, for it is rooted in individualism, not community. 


Only to the extent that we endeavor to yield our valuings 
to creative interaction and then recognize that, at best, we 
have not committed all of them can we have access to those 
values which creative interaction, in turn, yields to us. 
Yielding to it reveals to us our unlovableness, and so 
makes it possible to grow more lovable. Growing more 
lovable opens to us opportunities for creative interaction 
on a richer level than we could otherwise participate in. 
These opportunities may occur in our involuntary mem- 
berships such as family and community where they open 
the way to the sharing of interests at deeper levels than 
formerly. Or they may occur in voluntary memberships, 
such as friendships, clubs, advanced vocational positions, 
and other positions, and other affiliations into which we 
enter primarily upon the basis of what we are and say 
and do. The clashings of valuings in creative interaction 
stimulate us to cultivate those graces in ourselves and in 
the conditions of living which further the range and 
depth of creative interaction. 

The child almost up to the age of puberty should be as 
little self-conscious as possible concerning his interaction 
with others and the deliberate development of graces in 
himself and in the conditions of living. His attention 
should be directed to those values which he can appre- 
ciate as worth living for. His commitments should be 
FU.stained by spontaneous enthusiasm for the big thing he 
seeks and serves. In so far as is possible, corrective dis- 
ciplines should come in the form of suffering consequences 
rather than through being made introspectively repent- 
ent. The less the young child thinks of himself, the less 
he will get into his own way. But as adolescence ap- 
proaches, he will necessarily become more self-conscious 
because the valuings of others with whom he interacts 
will be directed more and more toward his personality 
and his more intimate interests. This will happen because 
he is expected to become a more and more responsible 
participant in all foiTns of adult interaction. It becomes 
essential that he begin to assume consciously his responsi- 
bilities. Most of the adolescent difficulties in mistaking 


license for freedom arise from our failure, as adults, to 
include youth as fast as they are ready in interaction of 
those valuings which are related to the larger social webs 
of connectedness. Beginning with puberty, it is the grow- 
ing web of meaning that must more and more guide and 
control the activities of youth rather than the authorita- 
tive direction of adult individuals. It is crucial then that, 
just as the baby is caught into the web of meaning called 
the family, the youth shall be caught into that larger web 
of meaning, the community. His growth consists in the 
growth of such connections between himself and others 
as will elicit tlie kind of response which creates youth 
and re-creates the community. 

Occasionally we find an individual whose sense of be- 
longing is practically lacking. A case study of his earlier 
years will usually reveal the fact that he has become cut 
off from the kind of personal relations wherein the inter- 
action between the members creates them all. Somewhere, 
somehow, the family and the community have failed him. 
He is a cultural orphan, literally speaking. With a heavy 
heart, we wonder about the many children whom "mod- 
em" Europe is thus making into cultural orphans. But 
we wonder still more about the welfare of those Ameri- 
can children whose parents so plan their activities that 
there is scarcely any opportunity for full and free crea- 
tive interaction in the family. Children cannot grow by 
bread alone, not even a busy minister's children. Much of 
the creative interaction in the family is marked by love. 
Here the child most easily finds God. 

The Impregnable Source of Security 

The main concern in the growth of both child and adult 
is commitment to creative interaction, which we have 
variously called the web of meaning, the creativity of 
life, and the love of God. Personal relations grow out of 
this. The love of God is this. The chief implications of 
these general principles for the difficulties of the present 
hour may perhaps be expressed in three statements. 


(a) All the meaning of life springs out of creative 
interaction with others. It is this interaction which 
engenders our personal relations, 

(b) The present-day lack of continuity in our asso- 
ciations with particular individuals in familiar situa- 
tions makes it necessary to find this source of mean- 
ing in creativity operative in new and changing situ- 
ations instead of in any particular set of achieved 
personal relations. 

(c) This requires a new kind of commitment — de- 
votion not to an achieved community but to the living 
Source of Community which rears new personal re- 
lations as new contacts and situations arise and old 
ones pass away. It becomes necessary to recognize 
creativity itself as the source of all good rather than 
any one order of life which we may have come to feel 
is "good." 

Our ruling concern then should not be with the individ- 
ual persons or groups with whom we are connected 
through the sharing of interests. Rather it should be 
with the providing conditions which promote creative 
interaction in each novel, appropriate situation. These 
conditions will vary in detail from situation to situation 
but they will always be those (1) which stimulate and 
encourage individual persons or groups to express their 
valuings as fully and freely and honestly as possible, (2) 
which further mutual understanding of valuings among 
all participants, and (3) which foster in the participants 
a motivation based upon their developing community of 

While love in almost all of its conventional meanings 
is not identical with creative interaction, the kind of love 
called Christian might well be so considered. It is the 
released and universalized love of God engendering com- 
munity among all men in all situations. This release and 
universalization came about through a sequence of events 


in which the life, death and continued working of Jesus 
Christ were most prominent. The creative love of God 
in the form of the living Christ as the Savior of the world 
was released from its confinement to segregated groups, 
localities, and interests and was enabled to over-leap all 
barriers, to pass through all social changes. 

We are entering an epoch in history when the signif- 
icance of commitment to this released and universalized 
love of God must be clearly recognized. God is that Great 
Third in which persons interact. His love is the growing 
web of meaning which makes us members one of another 
and enriches the life of each. WTien we put first in our 
lives this creativity which generates, sustains and en- 
riches ever>' personal relation, all other goods are added 
unto us. 


By Shirley Jackson Case 

Florida School of Religion 

Lakeland, Florida 

All men live in three worlds. They are creatures of the 
present, constantly occupied with the activities of each 
passing houi*. AL the same time, memory remains their 
inescapable companion. The past perpetually dogs their 
footsteps with recollections of failure or success that con- 
stitute the point of departure for life in the present. They 
also live under the perpetual awareness of an impending 
future. The todays elbow them irresistibly into the to- 
morrows, which they may approach with discouragement 
or hope or an assured confidence that the best is yet to be. 

/. The Good World 

Normal and healthful humanity is always chiefly con- 
cerned with the living present. It is believed to be a good 
world that invites our confidence, challenges our energy 
and beckons us on to success. Faith in man's native ability 
to apprehend the true meaning of life and to per- 
form effectively the world's work for his own day and 
generation is the bulwark of civilization. Tacitly or de- 
liberately everyone orders his course of action on this 
presupposition, irrespective of the particular type of cos- 
mical philosophy to which he may adhere. If he is a the- 
istic idealist who believes himself to be living in a divine- 
ly ordered universe, then it becomes his specific task as 
a man to discover and perform the will of God. Or if, 
at the other extreme, he is a materialistic determinist, 
it will be his mission to read aright the laws of nature 
and turn them to practical account in the service of man- 
kind. Whether an over-ruling Providence or an inher- 
ently animate physical existence is thought to be the ul- 
timate basis of the world's order the realization of desir- 
able conditions of life are mediately or immediately a 
human responsibility. 

Acting on this faith in man's ability to discover or 
devise profitable modes of procedure, successive gener- 


ations have continued to build the kind of society in which 
we live from day to day. Even the most elemental forms 
of the social structure are products of human activity. The 
family, the clan, the civil community and the nation all 
represent a slow process of growth in man's endeavor to 
construct institutions for safeguarding life and property. 
Customs, becoming sanctified with age, take on the 
permanent validity of laws enforced to insure the main- 
tenance of good order. New laws are enacted to ward off 
new e\ils or to increase the efficiency of existing ideals. 
Thus man strives to build a world of equity and justice. 

The restless human urge to discover larger truth, to 
multiply satisfactions and to enrich experience have pro- 
duced an exceedingly complex culture. Even political in- 
stitutions, which are among our oldest social establish- 
ments, still remain in a state of flux. Different peoples 
have devised varying types of governmental administra- 
tion of national affairs. The Japanese revere an emperor 
accredited by divine descent. The British retain a mon- 
arch ruling "by the grace of God", a grace conferred by 
the church, but limited by the will of the people's parlia- 
ment. Russia, Germany, and Italy accept the rule of a 
dictator. The United States of America trusts in a democ- 
racy to choose the nation's government by popular vote 
of all citizens. Nations have different political tastes, 
each preparing a menu to suit its own palate. But vari- 
ations in the program do not prompt anyone to imagine 
that civilization could exist without the support of poli- 
tical institutions, and only the rarest of pessimists doubts 
mankind's ability to establish and administer govern- 

Faith in the economic efficiency of the human race is 
also one of the modem society's most deepseated convic- 
tions. The right to live is a corollary of birth, and to 
live well is a universally cherished ambition. The ele- 
mental necessities of food, shelter and clothing are now 
so generally insured by membership in the organized com- 
munity, that individual initiative aspires more particularly 
toward the attainment of the highest possible measur." of 


leisure and luxury. The intricate fabric of the modern 
complex economic order in a gigantic structure built up 
by the industry and daring of many men in different 
fields of activity. An immense amount of energy has 
been devoted to the mastery of our natural resources in 
fields and forests and mineral deposits. Problems of 
transportation by land and sea and air have been solved 
with amazing efficiency. Intricate and gigantic man- 
made machines have multiplied our industrial output 
many hundred fold. Commercial enterprise unites the 
whole world, from the smallest hamlet to the greatest 
metropolis, in one vast network of interrelated activity 
and economic inter-dependence. So successful has man 
been in the acquisition of worldly goods that the attain- 
ment of this goal may often seem to be regarded by him as 
the chief end of his existence. 

The kingdom of the intellect is another domain in which 
the human spirit exercises regnant powers. The universe 
has become an open book. Astronomers peering into the 
illimitable spaces through their powerful telescopes trace 
with unerring accuracy the course of the heavenly bodies 
and define the laws that govern their motion. In physical, 
chemical and biological laboratories the secret forces 
of the world's life are mercilessly unveiled before the scru- 
tinizing human eye. Psychologists strive to plot with me- 
chanical precision the operations of man's mental proces- 
ses. Sociologists analyze, interpret and propose remedial 
measures for the conduct of groups and communities. His- 
torians, linguists, philosophers and students of many arts 
add their quota to the sum of knowledge. The present, one 
might say, is an age when man has become literally 
steeped in wisdom. 

Knowledge is no longer the possession of a few select 
and cloistered scholars. It has been made available for 
the multitude by countless agencies of communication. 
Universities, colleges, and schools of lower grade from 
the kindergarten up, disseminate information to each new 
generation of youth. Law requires every child, whether 
he will or not, to submit to some measure of educational 


discipline. But the classroom is only one, and not at all 
the most significant, instrument employed today for edu- 
cating the human race. Our printing presses flood the 
country with newspapers, magazines and books bidding 
for popular attention. Free libraries, museums, zoological 
and botanical gardens, community clubs and similar pub- 
lic educational agencies have gradually increased in num- 
ber at every center of population. Voluntary associations 
aiming to cultivate one or another form of enlightenment 
are constantly multiplying. Public address on all types of 
theme render a similar service. And the ubiquitous radio, 
constitutes a tremendously important new instrument for 
broadcasting the world's wisdom to,a,ll .parts of the earth. 

The aesthetic interests of mankind have experienced a 
similar development. A wide variety of entertainment is 
today available for the satisfaction of every degree of cul- 
tural taste. Many different forms of sport offer amuse- 
ment or relaxation for participants and observers. The 
cinema, the theater and the musical entertainment invite 
their respective patrons to share whatever measure of 
aesthetic uplift is provided by the performance. Sculptures 
adorn our city parks and architectural charm is incorpor- 
ated into many public buildings. Numerous museums of 
art exhibit their -treasures for the admiration and enlight- 
enment of the multitude. Musical instruments may be 
possessed . by every home where all persons from child- 
hood to old age may indulge their appetite for the art. 
The cultivation of literature at varying levels of excel- 
lence is open to all aspirants, and a responsive reception 
awaits the productions of every facile pen. 

Morkl ideals are also assiduously cultivated. Laws are 
designed to give rectitude the right of way in all of the 
operations of life. If might exalts itself above right its 
exponents always feel the necessity of making the worse 
seem the better cause. Every tolerable form of conduct 
must bear some stamp of apparent virtue. All business 
transactions proceed upon the basal assumption that gen- 
erally accepted ethical standards will be observed by all 
parties concerned. Honesty, truthfulness, courtesy and 


individual integrity in all men, according to their lights, 
have been so inextricably woven into the texture of the 
social fabric that deviations from these norms inevitably 
awaken disapproval and a demand for restraint or punish- 
ment. Society has decreed that both individuals and 
groups in all their normal activities shall be moral. Devia- 
tions may not be condoned, but must be rectified either by 
Instruction or by discipline. 

Education in the building of character begins with the 
child in the home, is continued by the school and the 
church, and comes to fulfilment in the multitudinous con- 
tacts of life's daily work. Changing circumstances may 
alter traditional views about right and wrong, but the de- 
mand for rectitude is not relaxed. Material efl^ciency, me- 
chanical skill and ci"«ative vision are essential factors in 
the progress of civilization, but unless the superstructure 
is reared on the solid foundation of integrity it is not ex- 
pected to endure. We may not display beforehand a med- 
dlesome concern for the character of the men who fashion 
our culture, but when their faults become glaringly evi- 
dent popular resentment rises like an irresistible flood. 
The moral stamina of civilization's builders is the basal 
presupposition of our cultural existence. 

The spiritual sensitivities of man are the particular 
care of our numerous relig^ious institutions. In a land 
where church and state refuse to exert any formal com- 
pulsions upon one another, religious activities derive their 
vitality from the purely voluntaristic choices of the peo- 
I)le. Spontaneity and initiative, operating without arti- 
ficial restraint, stem from the motives and ideals of the 
aspiring spirit of mankind. Operating thus freely and of 
its own accord, the will to cultivate spiritual interests has 
found abundant expression. Churches have been estab- 
lished in every community. Funds for their construc- 
tion and maintenance are provided by the free gifts of the 
people. Every seventh day of the week is set aside for 
their distinctive functions, and many of them maintain 
a series of lesser activities throughout every day of the 
year. Their ministers are men of altruistic temper ever 


ready to serve the welfare of individuals and groups in 
all the crises of life. 

The present would seem to be a glorious age in which 
to live. Every citizen enjoys the full protection of laws 
enforced for his safety. Government of the people, by the 
people and for the people is a concretely operating ideaL 
There is an amplitude of worldly goods, even though the 
state of their more equitable distribution may still leave 
much to be desired. Knowledge in modern times has been 
vastly increased and made to serve a host of human needs. 
Opportunities for the enjoyment of life and the satisfac- 
tion of aesthetic impulses are legion. The moral and 
spiritual supports of the social order still remain the bed- 
rock on which the structure of civilization rests. This is 
the good world of today that invites our participation in 
its abundant life. 

//. The Evil Wo-rld 

The present is also an evil age. Believing as we fain 
would that we live in a good world, there is no blinking 
the fact that we also live in a bad world. The pages of 
each morning's newspaper tell the sad story of human 
perversity. The enforcement of laws for the protection 
of life and property is continually thwarted. Petty lar- 
ceny is so common an offense that it is no longer news suf- 
ficiently interesting to be reported at length by the daily 
press. But the prosaic records at the police station tell 
the doleful tale of nightly depredations by the snatcher of 
purses, the hold-up man, the house-breakev, the robb^n-, the 
automobile thief, and gentlemen of their ilk who live out- 
side the law. The more picturesque violence of the gang- 
sters may get a column or two in the news and a photo- 
graphic display in the pictorial section but their more ex- 
tensive undercover activities usually escape public atten- 
tion. The murderer is only occasionally apprehended and 
even the kidnapper has often evaded detection. An inten- 
sive scrutiny of the social order that is commonly assumed 
to constitute a law-abiding community reveals a shocking 
picture of uncontrolled lawlessness. The multiplication of 


legal statutes for the better control of life seems only to 
result in an acceleration of crimes and a threatened tri- 
umph of vice. 

Tragredy also stalks abroad even in these days of highly 
developed mechanical skills. New inventions invite new- 
dangers. Travel by air is one of the boasted accomplish- 
ments of the present generation. But suddenly a stately 
Hindenburg bursts into a blazing inferno, a seaplane 
plunges its human freight to death in the ocean, and a 
transcontinental air liner deposits the charred remains of 
its passengers on some remote mountain peak. The in- 
creased slaughter of automobile traffic is gradually be- 
coming one of the accepted common places of experience. 
Human skill speeds up the tempo of life and premature 
death follows in its train. While medical science strives to 
increase the efficiency of its preventive and' remedial 
techniques, the daily strain of accelerated living early ex- 
hausts the natural resources of the human heart and 
blood and tissue. 

In a world of vast material abundance there is also the 
mounting cry of human want. Poverty is still a stunning 
fact. The ill and the wilfully idle are no longer its only 
victims, but thousands — perhaps millions — of able-bodied 
men and women are denied the opportunity to earn the 
common necessities of life. Community charity and gov- 
ernment doles may temporarily furnish a measure of re- 
lief, but they cannot avert the tragedy of thwarted hopes 
and self-conscious defeat that blasts the spirits of am- 
bitious and self-reliant men. There is something radically 
wrong with a civilization that refuses its competent citi- 
zens an opportunity to earn a respectable livelihood by 
their own willing toil. And the defect is all the more glar- 
ing \vhere abundance still prevails. The farmer's barns, 
the merchant's shelves and the manufacturer's warehouse 
have not been depleted, but their owners have been im- 
poverished by lack of opportunity to dispose of their 
goods. Comfortable housing for the needy is not denied 
for lack of land on which to build or materials for con- 
struction or workmen ready to toil at the task. The social 


disease that now afflicts us is so illusive and intangible, 
and its diagnosis so uncertain, that one may not unreason- 
ably fear the development of a deadly epidemic. 

In a good world, one would expect law and peace to 
prevail, but the present age is marked by widespread viol- 
ence. Sometimes this is exercised in the name of law, when 
the police shoot the robber or apply third degree torture 
to elicit a confession. But more often violence occurs as 
an outi-ight breach of lawful action. Deadly civil war be- 
tween groups of gangsters fighting for the control of some 
illicit commercial enterprise is probably a far more com- 
mon ev-ent in the. life of our larger cities than is realized 
by the general public. Legitimate labor organizations often 
have their own strong ann squads to enforce the will of 
the group in much more summary fashion than the tedious 
processes of the courts could accomplish. Recurrent strikes 
are always potential, and often real, breeders of hatred 
and violence. Blood}' battles are waged between police and 
strikers,, or between rival groups of laborers one desiring 
to continue and the other determined to cease work. 

Violence on the grand scale is still the business, indeed 
the glory, of all civilized nations. The great powers that 
hold sway over different portions of the earth's surface 
todajv lappropriate yearly vast sums of money for the up- 
keep of aiTnies, navies and air fleets. The manufacturers of 
ammunition quietly but assidously stimulate rivalries and 
jealousies between different national groups. Arms are ac- 
cumulated under the specious slogan of safeguarding 
peace, and occasions for war are invented to turn the 
equipment to practical account and glorify the nation's 
power. Treaties between nations are kept or broken at 
convenience. The international status of modern civi- 
lization still appeals in the last resort to the supreme 
court of violence. Belligerent patriotism is the highest 
virtue, might is the judge of right, and he who has the 
last dollar to be expended for death-dealing bombs is the 
redeemer of the race. 

The wanton destructiveness of modern warfare is ap- 
pAllingly immoral. It has lost even that semblence of 


sportsmanship which used to obtain when tlie conflict was 
restricted to the action of embattled armies. Now the 
homes and lives of innocent women and children are 
recklessly destroyed by raids from the air. The hut of the 
Ethiopian peasant, the crowded dwellings of a Chinese 
city, or the non-combatants in many an European village 
have in recent years had mutilation and death rained upon 
them from the sky. The lust for victory obliterates the last 
vestiges of any human reverence for ideals of mercy and 
justice. Every device of scientific skill is devoted to the 
building of engines of destruction and operated with the 
temper of the beast-man at his worst. 

Force bordering on violence tends to assume menancing 
proportions in the life of individual nations. The "blood- 
purge" and the concentration camp have become estab- 
lished institutions in certain modern European countries. 
The consciences and freedom of citizens are sacrificed 
freely to the bullets of the firing squad or the execution- 
er's axe. Liberty is restricted within the narrow confines 
of the ruling administration's will. The authority of 
power nullifies the authority of the spirit, and ideals are 
tolerable only when they obey the commands of the dic- 
tator. The degree to which any government assumes the 
right to suppress sincere private opinion is the measure 
of its disposition to rule by violence. Laws that would 
refuse the right of the educationalist to teach the truth 
as he sees it, that would deny free speech to any propa- 
ganda that is capable of winning a hearing, or that 
would regiment normal living according to the dictates 
of an externally superimposed standard, constitute the 
first step toward serving the god of violence. Over wide 
areas of the world today the disposition to exert forceful 
control over human thought and conduct, allegedly in the 
interests of suppressing license, tends to become a serious 
menace to liberty when the will to power transcends the 
will to equity and justice. 

Even the natural world often i-eveals itself to be the 
demonic enemy of mankind. A windstorm arising out of 
the great dust bowl of the American middle west suddenly 


spreads its deadly breath over thousands of acres. What 
drought has left untouched a devastating flood may pres- 
ently demolish. Then a tornado releases its fury leaving 
in its wake the dead, the maimed, the homeless and the 
destitute. Our charitable agencies rush to the rescue 
but at best they can only feebly repair the damage and 
have no power to prevent the recurrence of disaster. The 
evil forces of nature temporarily suspend their displeas- 
ure, only to be released again when and where they will. 
Or it may be a sudden epidemic of influenza that will 
sweep across the land and mockingly defy our vaunted 
modern medical skill. Tragedy is still a large component 
elemeni in the life of man on earth. 

In the moral life of the individual there is a perpetual 
conflict between the ideal and its realization. How truly 
has it been said that when we would do good evil is pres- 
ent with us! We live in a state of eternal warfare waged 
between the worse and the better self. Virtue is so elu- 
sive a goal that just at the moment when we have thought 
our triumph complete some new demand emerges on the 
horizon beckoning us on to further attainment. Our 
moral strength has to be freshly reinforced with each new 
day; yesterday's laurels are no final guaranty of success 
for today and tomorrow. Wearied by the perpetual recur- 
rence of the struggle between good and evil, it is not 
strange that we should sometimes lapse into a mood of 
pessimism wherein every dawn is succeeded by the dark- 
ness of night and every birth suggests the inevitability 
of the grave. 

The destiny of our moral ideals is further jeopardized 
by the fact of our constantly changing social personnel. 
The attempt to insure the triumph of goodness in the 
world by building up institutions to conserve and per- 
petuate the worthy accomplishments of the past often 
proves to be a vain hope. In the last analysis insti- 
tutions will not rise above the moral level of the people 
by whom they are manned. Even the most finely con- 
structed machinery of government, education or religion 
may be turned to perverse uses or disastrously wrecked 


by the incompetence of the man who operates the con- 
trols. He is the incalculable factor that constantly dis- 
turbs the equilibrium of any supposedly well-established 
institutional order. Personnel is ever changing as the per- 
petual cycle of birth and death revolves in its irresistible 
course, and with each new generation the conflict between 
good and evil reverts afresh to its elemental status. 

'J'his bald fact holds true even in the idealistic sphere 
of religion. The church is no asylum of refuge for one 
who thinks to escape from the inconvenience of partic- 
ipating in the struggle betvyeen right and wrong, nor are 
religious institutions the unsullied abode of pure goodness. 
The ethical excellencies of the church never exceed in real- 
ity the sum of its members' virtues, and they, being hu- 
man, are subject to the weaknesses to which all flesh is 
heir. Even here the price of attainment is perpetual strug- 
gle to make the good transcend the evil, and the ecclesiast- 
ical highway is not free from the wreckage of failures. 
Too often denominational rivalries degenerate into a kind 
of religious civil war between contending branches of 
Christendom. Dogmas and rituals arrogate to themselves 
the prerogatives of supreme authority superimposed upon 
the free spirits of men who are condemned for heresy or 
excommunicated for non-conformity. Even in the soil of 
the church both wheat and tares are destined to grow to- 
gether until the harvest. 

Such are the sinister aspects of the modern world. Life 
is a continuous challenge. We may trust to chance or re- 
sort to cunning in our desire to avoid open conflict with 
the vicious forces in our environment. Or we may adopt 
compromise in the hope of making the going a little more 
comfortable on the rough highway of life. Or, in a more 
heroic mood, we may boldly give battle to the enemy in 
a determined effort to overcome evil with good. 

///. The Idealized Past 

The world in which we live today has been a long, long 
time in the making. Both good and evil are ancient heri- 
tages. Whether they have kept equal pace with one an- 


other in their growth or in their diminution, whether good 
has increased while evil has declined, or whether evils 
have multiplied at the expense of goodness, are questions 
that have been and still are very differently answered. 
Our philosophy of living is mainly determined by our 
opinion as to whether the world is growing better or 
worse. One favorite mode of escape from the bad world 
of today is the attempt which many people make to restore 
the imaginary happy conditions of days gone by. 

It has been a common disposition of mankind to ifiealize 
the past and deprecate the present. The ancient Greeks 
invented the picture of a succession of world-ages begin- 
ning with the age of gold, followed by one of silver, and 
then one of bronze, until finally the present age of iron 
had dawned upon a distressed humanity. In the earlier 
periods of history there had been giants and heroes, but 
today only common mortals remained. Similarly the 
Hebrews imagined that the beginnings of life on earth 
traced back to the happy abodes of a Garden of Eden 
wherein the first man and the first woman lived in com- 
fort and innocence. But they fell from this high estate 
dragging down with them all of their descendants to the 
hard life of toil and suffering. The patriarchs of antiq- 
uity had lived for hundreds of years, but now the span 
of life had been shortened to a brief three score years and 
ten. The course of physical and social development had 
been one of gradual deterioration and increasing distress. 
An idealized past had been supplanted by a decadent 

This pessimistic view of the processes of life still per- 
vades large areas of our thinking. We feel ourselves con- 
tinually overshadowed by the greater things that have 
been; at best we hope to reflect but dimly the glories of 
the past. Our highest ambition is to approximate as 
nearly as we can the idealized excellencies of our noblest 
predecessors. We would repeat in our own feebler 
fashion the political ideas and policies of a Washington 
or a Lincoln. We would, if we could, write the English 
of a Shakespeare, paint the fresco of a Michael Angelo, 


compose the music of a Beethoven, and live the conse- 
crated life of a Jesus of Nazareth. But, conscious of our 
inability to perform perfectly any of these accomplish- 
ments, we strive only for a life of imitative mediocrity. 

Hence we aim to live by rules that are supposed to 
have been already deposited somewhere upon the pages 
of history. Previous custom has fixed the propriety of all 
thinking- and action suitable for life today. Our first duty 
is to become intelligently aware of the precepts that have 
been propounded by our ancestors, and the ultimate goal 
of our ambition is to approach as nearly as possible to a 
life of conformity with these given regulations. One may 
seek this normative guidance from the Bible, from the 
constitution of the United States, or from the enactments 
of last year's legislature. In any event the procedure is 
inspired by the same fundamental principle. It assumes 
that the past has been so much wiser than the present 
that norms for opinion and conduct have been properly 
fixed for all time to come by the authoritative decrees of 
the ancients. 

Under these circumstances the constructive activities 
of life aim, not at new creations, but at the restoration 
of the better things that have been in the ideal past. 
Governments are built on ancient models. The imperial 
pattern inherited from Roman antiquity inspires the mod- 
em European dictator to strive to build a world-expand- 
ing kingdom. The semi-democratic institutions of the Brit- 
ish people have not abandoned the imagery of a world- 
embracing empire. The American ideal maintains a benev- 
olent aspiration to control the western hemisphere by 
reiterating the famous Monroe Doctrine and building a 
fleet capable of policing the Pacific Ocean or even able to 
hold its own upon the Atlantic. Centralization of power 
and regimentation of the people's life are dispositions 
that invade even the most democratic of our institutions 
and tend to reinstate features of the monarchical or im- 
perial regimes that have flourished in the past. 

In many other areas of activity the same principle pre- 
vails. An effort is made to restore the conditions of the 


good old days. The products of the farm are to be re- 
duced to the .^ormer level where production and consump- 
tion were evenly balanced. Mining and manufacturing 
are to be brought under a control that will reinstate mar- 
ketable equilibrium. The relations between capital and 
labor are to be so readjusted that the social equity of a 
primitive society may be realized anew amid the com- 
plexities of a modern civilization. Education should return 
to the elemental simplicities of the little red school house 
or the medieval university. The moral standards of the 
fathers should once more be given the right of way 
throughout the distorted relationships of the present so- 
cial order. The world, it is assumed, has gown rapidly 
worse with the passing of the years and can be righted 
only by a deliberate effort to return to the ideal condi- 
tions of the past. 

In the sphere of religion the authority of antiquity has 
remained most strongly fortified. All religious beliefs and 
practices are commonly justified on the ground that ulti- 
mately they came to mankind through the processes of a 
revelation delivered in ancient times. The moral ideals 
embodied in the Ten Commandments are said to have 
been written on tablets of stone by the finger of God and 
given to Moses for the instruction of the people in all fu- 
ture ages. The ancient prophets, speaking in the name 
of the Lord, addressed to their contemporaries messages 
that have been credited with permanent validity. The 
teachings of Jesus delivered to his disciples in Palestine 
nineteen hundred years ago have become the norm for all 
later Christian life and action. Paul's letters to first- 
century Christian groups scattered about the old Roman 
world have been taken as handbooks of guidance for all 
subsequent generations. This accumulated body of an- 
cient writings assembled into a single volume and canon- 
ized by the church, has acquired the sanctity of an in- 
spired Scripture, an embodiment of the truth once for 
all delivered to the saints. When the religious man seeks 
wisdom for the direction of thought and conduct in the 
twentieth century he turns by force of habit to these rec- 


ords of the past for his standards and ideals. That, he 
infers, was the golden age of wisdom which a degenerate 
present must ever strive to restore. 

The prevalent custom among ministers of building their 
sermons around biblical texts perpetuates the feeling of 
dependence upon the ideals of the past. The organized 
activities of religion rest upon the same thesis. One chuich 
justifies its establishment and procedures on the hypoth- 
esis that Jesus designated Peter as the rock on which the 
church was to be founded, and therefore Peter's suc- 
cessor in the person of the Pope of Rome is the ultimate 
authority in all ecclesiastical affairs. Another church holds 
to the primacy of the apostolic group as a whole, of whom 
Peter was only one of the members, and thus the govern- 
ment of religious activities lies in the authority of an apos- 
tolic succession of bishops proceeding in a direct line of 
descent from the official companions of Jesus. Still another 
church follows the Pauline pattern of administration by 
elders or presbyters. But whether it be Roman Catholics, 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, or any other denominational 
group they tach and severally profess to reproduce an 
ancient model. It is assumed that a religious institution 
can have validity only when accredited by antiquity. 

'^he beliefs of religious people are tested by the same 
standard. When systems of doctrine are formulated they 
have to be fortified at every vital point by references to 
biblical texts. When a new truth emerges out of some area 
of modern knowledge an effort is made to show that it 
was contained, at least in germ, in the ancient revelation 
where it lay undeveloped until brought out into the full 
light of day in more recent times. If the church under- 
takes a new task, such as the application of religion to 
present-day social problems, justification for the pro- 
cedure is sought in the rediscovery of words spoken by the 
old Hebrew prophets or in the message of Jesus. Ancient 
truth is credited with a fulness, a richness and a perfec- 
tion of unsurpassable excellence, while today's religioui 
insights and aspirations can be at best only a replica of 
the past. 


The notable religious conferences held at Oxford and 
Edinburgh during the summer of the year 1937 clearly- 
illustrated the degree to which Christendom still adheres 
to the notion of an authoritarian past. These assemblies 
were keenly conscious of two pressing issues. First, the 
increasing power of secularism in the modern state im- 
pelled the church to consider ways and means by which 
it could more effectively assert its moral and spiritual 
ideals. And secondly, a Christendom divided into many 
rival and non-cooperating groups needed to effect a closer 
union of its diverse branches in order to present to the 
world a united front. The immediate practical importance 
of these procedures was self-evident. But the discussions 
throughout were dominated by the psychology of antiquar- 
ianism. What the church was in its primitive conception, 
what message it had originally received with reference to 
its function in the community and the state, what had 
been the authentic doctrine of the church in the begin- 
ning, and according to what institutional order it had been 
founded, these were the dominating issues. The first duty 
of the modern church was to perpetuate and repeat the life 
of the past. 

And so we continue to live under the shadow of antiq- 
uity. The great and good things of the days of old are 
remembered for the inspiration and guidance of these 
later and less fortunate times. We cull from the pages of 
history the more adorable figures of the past and set them 
on pedestals to be admired and imitated. Their words of 
wisdom are cherished for the instruction of each new 
generation of youth. Their exemplary lives are lauded as 
models of conduct for worthy living today. The deeds ac- 
complished by them are thought to constitute a solid foun- 
dation on which to build a modern social order. The short- 
comings and perversities of present-day life mark a de- 
parture from the standards of the ancients and are ca- 
pable of correction in so far as we can effect an approxi- 
mate restoration of the older ideals and patterns of con- 
duct. Life today is thus generously endowed with heri- 
tages from antiquity. Although we must live in the pres- 


ent, it is our privilege to be in large measure children of 
the past. Out of this treasure house of memory we seek 
to bring forth things both new and old for the enrichment 
of modern life. 

IV. The New World of Today 

Notwithstanding our reverence for the past, present- 
day living is marked by many novelties. It offers a 
welter of experiences and problems that have never be- 
fore been confronted by mankind. If a cross-section of 
civilization as it existed barely two hundred years ago is 
placed beside a similar segment from modern times the 
contrast becomes immediately apparent. The mechani- 
zation of the processes of life so pervasive today was 
then utterly unknown. Railroads and steamboats were 
then undreamed of. Electricity smote men with the deadly 
lightning but no steps had been taken to harness it to 
their machines, to make it light their dwellings, or to 
convert it into power to carry their messages by wire 
and air throughout the world. Even the grandparents of 
the present generation lived, by contrast with the modern 
age of speed, a relatively benighted existence. They were 
people of the horse-and-buggy days when men knew 
nothing of modern facilities in transportation by auto- 
mobile, airplane and streamlined, diesel-driven speedsters 
of the rails. 

Industrial conditions have been radically transformed 
even in a single century. Machines have been exalted and 
human individuality abased. The scattered workshops of 
single artisans have been displaced by the central factory 
with its steam or electrically driven equipment. The per- 
sonality of the workman loses itself in the totality of the 
human mass that daily streams in and out of the factory's 
doors. Group-life develops a distinctive conscoiusness 
and creates an entirely new set of social problems for 
ethical and religious thinking. At the same time manu- 
facturers and capitalists combine to control production 
and markets, and to protect their interests against the ag- 
gressions of united labor. Business conditions create a 


new type of life to which the simpler codes of personal 
living seem inadequate or inapplicable. Modern indus- 
trial and commercial activity is an affair of the new world 
the like of which was totally unknown to the ancients. 

The last century's acquisitions in knowledge have cre- 
ated virtually a new heaven and a new earth. In grand- 
father's Bible thei-e was a note on the margin at the head 
of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis placing the 
date of the world's creation in the year 4004 B. C. A hun- 
dred years ago the approximate accuracy of this date was 
generally accepted. In the meantime the science of geology 
has constructed a totally new account of terrestrial his- 
tory reaching back through millenniums of time. The 
origins of man and the beginnings of social life take their 
start in a far distant past out of which order and cultural 
achievements have only slowly and gradually emerged. 
No golden age of primitive perfection is anywhere dis- 
coverable in the total scene. Man's original kinship is 
with the beasts whose blood still flows in his veins. The 
task of making goodness prevail is no longer a mere ques- 
tion of eliminating the consequences of Adam's sin and 
restoring a perfection thus temporarily lost. It is the 
mucli more difficult problem of infusing into human life 
new moral and spiritual ideals and aspirations to over- 
come effectively the original bestial heritage. 

The growth of histoi'ical knowledge has undermined 
much of our former faith in the ideal character of the 
past. As the ancients have become better known their 
shortcomings have become more conspicuous. The "de- 
bunkers" of history are not always pleasant companions 
and they are quite as prone to exaggerate the evils of the 
past as our authoritarian idealists are inclined to magnify 
its virtues. But the trutli is that evil and good have always 
been inextricably mixed in the history of mankind and 
the supposed existence of a once golden age when the 
world was free from misfortune and distress is either 
the pure creation of a poetic imagination or a partial 
reading of history which selects and amplifies the toler- 
ably good but ignores the reprehensible evils. Life in the 


modern world constantly streams out of the yesterdays 
carrying forward in its current numerous particles of 
both good and evil, but it flows continually forward to be 
enlarged by new tributaries and colored by the new ter- 
rain through which it takes its course. While it is par- 
tially a replica of the past, it is also a distinctly new thing 
under the sun. 

Contemporary living is thus always a new enterprise. 
Not only does the individual travel a road that he has 
never before explored, but it is also a highway that none 
of his predecessors has been able to plot with certainty. 
He must negotiate hazardous turns that are marked on 
no maps. On his own responsibility he must choose his 
course at forks in the road where sign-boards are lacking. 
He must negotiate steep grades and sharp declines that 
suddenly spring out of the unknown. If he finds himself 
on the wrong road he must retrace his course and experi- 
ment with another route. He must be prepared for un- 
marked dips in the pavement, sudden blockades of traffic, 
unaccountable perversities of other drivers, and all the 
various menaces to safety that stalk on the highway of 

The educational value of acquaintance with the past is, 
of course, highly important. It would be sheer folly to 
repeat ways of living that have been proved unfruitful, 
and the imitation of good models is always an excellent 
discipline. But to plan one's course in the world of today 
as thoMgh it could be a literal copy of what has been done 
in the past, or to assume that antiquity can furnish pat- 
terns for every form of present-day thinking and conduct, 
will lead one into a double fallacy. It will result in failure 
to appreciate the significance of modem times as a new 
age packed with facts and issues that were entirely un- 
known to the ancients. They cannot be required to have 
made pronouncements upon, or to have provided solutions 
for, questions of whose existence they had not the slight- 
est inkling. And, in the second place, when modems strive 
only to imitate the past they relinquish by this very at- 
titude their birthright to constructive and aggressive 


leadership in the solution of today's most important prob- 

Perhaps the lag so widely felt in the cultural develop- 
ment of modern times is largely due to the still pi evalent 
custom of aping the past instead of venturing boldly up- 
on new paths of exploration in the present. Old pre- 
scriptions are followed for the treatment of new diseases 
and when these remedies fail the maladies are pro- 
nounced incurable. Venturesome persons who would blaze 
a new trail are commonly viewed with suspicion or are 
persecuted for heresy. A peculiar sanctity attaches to the 
entrenched privileges of tradition ; the ways of the fathers 
are sacred in their own right. And so a benumbing leth- 
argy afflicts men when they come face to face with the 
problem of discarding old procedures and devising new 
techniques for the treatment of current issues. The rank 
and file of humanity do not want to be the first by whom 
the new is tried and they are often quite content to be 
counted among the last by whom the old is set aside. One 
imagines that there is a static stability about civilization 
that makes it more secure when standing still than when 
moving onward from the dead past through the living 
present and into the unknown- future. 

Aggressive living in the immediate present is always 
something of a venture. Driven by fresh urges toward 
thought and action, one may envisage a happy outcome 
but must at the same time be prepared for disappoint- 
ments. If we fear defeat more than we love healthful 
endeavor it will be unwise for us to venture upon new 
highways. But if reverses, accepted with Stoic fortitude 
and used as tutors in experience become new incentives 
to further action, the challenge and zest of living will be 
their own rewards. And the hope of making some con- 
structive contribution toward the betterment of the con- 
temporary world will relieve that sense of futility and 
aimlessness that may otherwise settle down like a deadly 
blight upon the aspiring soul. 

Opportunities for venturesome living rise before us on 
every iiand in the modern world. All of our customs and 


institutions tend to grow stale with age and call for the 
services of individuals capable of refoiining, revitalizing 
or supplementing the heritages from the past. If the 
world has been growing worse it is because mankind has 
not arisen to meet this challenge, and if it is growing 
better that improved status is due to persistent and re- 
peated human endeavor. Civilization as a product of man's 
activity refuses to stand still, and the price of progress 
has to be paid in the coinage of strenuous human living. 
Political ills will never be removed by blind and unthink- 
ing allegiance to a party machine. Help can come only 
from voters willing to think, criticize and act for the cor- 
rection of current abuses. Social evils will never he reme- 
died except as men give themselves to the arduous task of 
analyzing causes and devising new modes of procedure 
in dealing with the discoverable facts. To preach the appli- 
cation of some rule of thumb lifted ready-made out of the 
past can at best be only a temporary' palliative and never 
a permanent cure. Moral disorders can never be abolished 
simply by prophetic denunciations or even by legislative 
restraints. Valuable as these means are, they will fail of 
their purpose unless substantially supplemented by an 
understanding of genetic conditions and a persistent edu- 
cation in the making of virtue. Even religion is subject to 
decadence except as its representatives so live that they 
become mediums for new truth and light to break through 
upon the temporal scene. 

Each generation is the creator of its own changing cul- 
ture. The world of today will be good or bad in proportion 
to the creative energy displayed by man throughout the 
vast areas of activity over which he exercises control. If 
we think to live in comfortable enjoyment of the deposits 
of virtue bequeathed to us by the ancients, we are courting 
disappointment. A new age demands the cultivation of 
new virtues that must well up out of life today. Admir- 
ation for the attainments of our ancestors is the spring- 
board from w^iich we make our take-off into modern life, 
but fresh achievements will be the constructive work of 
our own hands. We look to the past for instruction and 


inspiration, but to tlie present for constructive thought 
and action in building a modern world. Life today calls 
for a new display of energy and skill that will further 
augment the cultural development of mankind. 

Indeed, it has been truly said that it is we who are the 
ancients. The world has been growing older day by day 
throughout all past centuries and we are the children of 
its greatest antiquity. Our ancestors belonged to a more 
youthful age of the world, while we are the products of 
its increasing maturity. We stand on the shoulders of all 
those who have come before us, their experience and wis- 
<lom are in our possession, and it is our privilege to be 
wiser and more efficient than they have been. As knowl- 
edge grows from more to more and reverence for the mys- 
tery of life increases, the immaturity of primitive times 
gives way to a riper wisdom and a larger capacity for 
building more perfectly the superstructure of civilization. 
It is the duty of modern men to add to the achievements 
of the ancients, to make themselves not only the equals 
but the superiors of their ancestors, and to become the ex- 
ponents of truer insights and more competent perfor- 
mance in the business of living. 

V. What of the Future? 
Man is not only a creature of memory; he is also pos- 
sessed of imagination. With the eye of creative fancy he 
strives to peer into every region of the unknown. Blank 
areas of information about the past are filled in cau- 
tiously or recklessly by the exercise of inventive skill. The 
scattered data of history are woven into a continuing 
nexus of events fabricated in accordance with some as- 
sumed laws of succession that are thought to reveal the 
purpose and ultimate meaning of the whole. Similarly, 
contemporary happenings are mutually related to one an- 
other in an effort to supply an imaginary integration of 
the total phenomena of present-day livine: that will dis- 
close the secret of its inner significance Even the future 
is brought within the domain of venturesome speculation. 
An attempt to forcast thi. 7 c'able course of coming 


events from the perspective of the past entices many a 
serious thinker. He seeks to discover the laws that will 
operate in the making of future history, to plot the curve 
that will be described by the continued operations of 
cause and effect, and to forecast the final goal toward 
which the processes of life are ultimately directed. All of 
which means that man is naturally inclined to be a philos- 
opher of history. 

Outlooks on the future are subject to wide variations 
of opinion. Few if any of us are so thoroughly objective 
in our judgments of things to come that our conclusions 
are not largely colored by the local circumstances of the 
moment or by our temporary personal emotions. Imme- 
diate desires, recent attainments or disappointments, or 
some cherished ambition, set the direction for thinking. 
Youth may paint the picture in rosy hues, middle age 
may make it a blend of light and shadow, while older men 
may view with distrust the prospects of an age that will 
have to be shaped without the experienced touch of their 
guiding hand. One who has encountered the defeat of 
cherished plans may see only more trouble ahead, while 
one who has happened to realize the goal of his desire for 
today may construct a quite imaginative picture of better 
things in the future. Whether the world is growing better 
or worse, whether living will be more or less comfortable 
tomorrow than it has been today, whether there is real 
progress in history or merely aimless flux, these are ques- 
tions that yield no final solution when seen only with the 
short-range vision of single individuals and answered in 
terms of their accidental personal experiences. 

A surer hope for successful living in the future is com- 
monly associated with the perpetuation of our numerous 
cultural institutions. In politics, industry, commerce, edu- 
cation, religion, and other phases of social activity the ma- 
chinery of a continuing organization has been devised to 
conserve the values of the past, to augment them in the 
present and to insure their endurance for days to come. 
They, it is assumed, will counteract the transitoi ''^-^ss of 
personalities and continue the momentum of historical pro- 


gress. They provide experience and training for the youth 
of today who are to bear tomorrow's responsibilities. They 
insure the longevity of skill and culture against the proc- 
esses of decline and decay that all too soon overtake even 
the most capable individuals. In them is deposited the 
wisdom of the past as a foundation on which to build new 
attainments in the present and the future. P"'rom time to 
time changes in their structuie may be required for the 
sake of greater efficiency but throughout this process they 
remain the depositories of accumulated values and the 
guarantors of the better things yet to be realized in hu- 
man history. 

While the institution outlives the individual, it is still 
a rather shaky foundation on which to rest a sure hope for 
life in the future. Sometimes institutions collapse. History 
throughout the ages has witnessed the end of one political 
regime after another. Banking concerns once thought im- 
pregnable have sometimes failed. Highly organized com- 
mercial enterprises that were prosperous yesterday have 
become bankrupt today. Manufacturing establishments 
that once throbbed with life finally decline and die. Old 
age and decay have settled down upon some of our once 
prosperous educational institutions. And shifts in the 
population have sometimes converted churches that were 
formerly the center of a thriving community life into 
mere monumental relics of the dead past. Institutions, 
like individuals, are victims of the ebb and flow of time. 

This picture has both a daik and a bright side. Viewed 
from the standpoint of the pessimist all change moves 
in the direction of further decay and ultimate death. He 
believes himself to be living in the autumn days of civili- 
zation. Its fruits have ripened and fallen, its foliage has 
been smitten with the frost of approaching winter, and 
its vital energy is slowly but suiely sinking down into the 
gi'ave of eternal night. If he cherishes any hope at all, it 
rests upon faith in the complete collapse of the present 
order of existence and the miraculous establishment of a 
new world that will be entirely different in its structure 
from the one in which we live today. In religious think- 


iiij?, where this doctrine has sometimes flourished, it is 
known as escliatology or millonarianism. The multiplying 
evils ot the present day are welcomed as a sign that the 
woi-ld is coTniug to an end. We are now living in the 
darl-:esl houi's of the night immediately preceding the 
(hiwn of a new day presently to be inaugurated by the 
catastrophic intervention of God. Or, if this hope is re- 
jected, there remains only the prospect of a return to 
primeval chaos. 

The optimist offers a different interpretation of the 
situation. He lives in civilization's springtime. It is his 
faith that the things that have been are only the prelude 
to better things yet to be. Death is followed by a new re- 
surgence of life. Individuals and institutions may pass 
away, but their passMig will be attended by the rise of 
others competent to function effectively in the world of to- 
morrow. The children of each generation when grown to 
maturity will further enrich the heritage bequeathed them 
by the fathers. The struggle between good and evil may 
be long drawn out but the champions of goodness are not 
pressed for time. The years that have passed thus far 
mark only the first step in the long course of the ages 
yet to come. Men move on and off the stage of history 
only to be followed by an innumerable host of actoi's yet 
unborn throughout the cycle of illimitable years. "Time 
flies you say; ah no, alas, time stays, we go", and our 
place is taken by succeeding generations age on age for 
innumerable centuries still to come. 

The optimist does not hope to plant his flag victoriously 
on the battlements of heaven in a single day or in one 
century. He is content if he can add but an iota to the 
sum of the worlds accumulating progress. Advance may 
be so gradual that it can hardly be seen with the naked 
eye; only under the magnifying glass of a long historical 
perspective can the forward movement be observed. Ordy 
by comparing the present status of civilization with that 
of a hundred years ago, or a thousand years ago, or by 
allowing one's gaze to range over the whole course of 
known time from the days of the cave-man to the present, 


can history be saen in its true light. Thus the optimist 
soars above the perplexing panorama of transcient men 
and atomistic events to survey the scene in its totality. The 
successful journey already made by mankind from the 
days of primitivity to the present advanced stages of cul- 
ture in a world that still has innumerable centuries of life 
£.head seems a sufficient guaranty for faith in the future. 

What actually lies ahead of us in life must ever remain 
uncertain. Fears may be proved groundless or confidence 
may be sadly betrayed by the ultimate outcome. At best 
we can but strive to possess ourselves of all available wis- 
dom from the past, to shape the course of life today in ac- 
coida: ce with our best jucigments, and to face the coming 
days with sucli a measure of anxiety or assurance as our 
temperaments permit. If we are prone to place trust 
chiefly in the remedial permanence of institutions, it will 
be well for us to remember that they are always created 
and maintained by individuals and their efficiency can 
never transcend the virtues of those by whom they are 
made and operated. If we are inclined to think only of 
our personal interests wg shall need to be reminded of the 
fact that society is a cooperative enterprise and the wel- 
fare of the individual can never be completely isolated 
from that of the group. To make today's life, both indi- 
vidually and socially, a substantial foundation on which 
to build tomorrow's good is the surest ground for future 

This ideal expressed in Christian language is tlie hope 
of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Nineteen hundred 
years of history leave its advent still an unrealized am- 
bition. The conflict between good and evil continues to 
be waged. M-n .strive to live by norms drawn from an 
idealized past and their hopes still remain unfulfilled. 
Others struggle to make of the present a better day than 
ever yet has been, only to discover that their ideals are 
fleeing goals beckoning them on to harder tasks in the 
future. Optimism and pessimism contend for the posses- 
sion of their spirits. They are tempted to forni judgments 
on the basis or' a short-range vision and yet are unable to 
set limits to the endurance of time. The unknown future 


always looms up before them with its illimitable possi- 
bilities. There is no hope of escape from its uncertainties, 
whether one chooses to appi'oach it with alaim or to enter 
its portals with confidence. 

Perhaps it might be well to note that the future is cap- 
able of indefinite extension in time. When threatened with 
overwhelming pessimism, the far look may rest our weary 
eyes. If our gaze sweeps over the long course of past his- 
tory, and is directed forward to still longer periods of 
time yet to come, we may gain greater confidence in the 
ability of mankind to w^ork out his own salvation, even if 
with fear and trembling. Slowly and painfully, but none 
the less surely, has civilization transcended innumerable 
obstacles in the past. There is no reason to believe that its 
efforts in the long future will be any less successful in 
their ultimate outcome. While the world endures and men 
maintam their faith in God, hope cannot die. 

There is a homely truth, that our modern pessimists 
sorely need, inipHed in the old jingle: 

"My grandpa notes the world's worn cogs 
And says we're going to the dogs. 
His grandpa, in his house of logs, 
Swore things were going to the dogs. 
His dad, among the Flemish bogs, 
Vowed things were going to the dogs. 
The caveman in his bearskin togs 
Said things were going to the dogs. 
But this is what I wish to state. 
Those dogs have had an awful wait." 


By Homer H. Dubs 

Duke University, Durham, North CaroHna 

Tlie character of the concepts we find suitable for use 
in the philosophy of religion depends fundamentally upon 
whether we consider this discipline to be literature or 
science. The primary function of science is, obviously, to 
state the truth; the primary function of literature, of 
which poetry is perhaps the outstanding example, is, on 
the other hand, to produce enjoyment. It may also state 
the truth, but that motive, if present, is secondary to the 
other one, which is the arousing of interest and satisfac- 
tion in the reader's mind. These two divisions of human 
thought have characteristics fundamentally different in 
important respects, so that we should be clear as to which 
of the two belongs our work in the philosophy of religion. 
1 am here including philosophy in the term science, for 
philosophy makes the same demands of clearness and defi- 
niteness that science does. 

If we are creating literature, then metaphors and sym- 
bols are better than exact statements; in fact, within 
wide limits, the more metaphors or symbols we use, the 
better. Statements such as that in religion, "human lives 
acquire size" (P. R. Hay ward) are welcome. Vagueness 
is nothing undesirable and mere allusiveness is admir- 
able; indeed, the more th'at literature sets us to wonder- 
ing and thinking, the better it is. If it needs continual 
interpretation into new language, it is excellent, for it 
can be made to mean whatever we like. Exactness of 
thought or expression is not necessary. If each reader 
interprets a piece of literature differently, this fact is a 
sign of the greatness, not of any deficiency, in that work. 
Yet I suspect that one would criticize harshly any 
v/riting that shows aforementioned characteristics, if it 
purported to deal with philosophy of religion. Unfor- 
tunately, too much religious writing has however been of 
this sort. Lack of clearness, the use of metaphors in 


place of exact statements, dogmatism in place of any at- 
tempt to establish positions by objective proof, have often 
characterized the philosophy of religion. 

It is indeed conceivable that this discipline really be- 
longs to literature, not to science. Then these character- 
istics can be defended. One of the commonest or religious 
activities, preaching, does really belong, to a very great 
extent, to literature. It is concerned to declare the truth, 
and persuade people to accept it. Hence it is funda- 
mentally dojrmatic and literary. It would indeed be con- 
venient if philosophy of religion were likewise mere liter- 
ature. Then we should be merely concerned to write and 
speak interestingly; as long as we pleased our hearers we 
should be doing all that could be expected of us. But in 
that case, we should have to give up any real hope of fur- 
nishing guidance to critically intelligent men or of right- 
fully convincing them of our correctness. For we should 
be looked upon by hard-headed men as purveyors of in- 
teresting stories, which at best give relief in moments of 
tension, like fairy-stories or music, and we could hardly 
be considered purveyors of eternal truths. If we wish to 
guide humanity, rather than merelv to delight it. we must 
adopt the ways of science rather than those of literature, 
for guidance is, for intelligent persons who are the nat- 
ural leaders of society, only to be secured from criticized 
and criticizable statements, not from fairy-stories. Even 
literary artists, in so far as they have for any length of 
time succeeded in guiding men, have had to adopt in part 
at least the ways of science. 

Let us then accept the notion that the philosophy of 
religion must be science rather than literature, and ask 
ourselves the question : If the theory of religion is science, 
what must be the characteristics of the concepts we ought 
to employ? 

In the first place, a concept must mean only one thing, 
always that, and nothing else. Every concept should be 
so defined that it is apparent whether any supposed ex- 
ample of that concept does or does not constitute a case 
of it. This demand is merely the requirement of clearnesa 


and definiteness of meaning, with which we aro all fa- 
miliar. Yet it has frequently been violated, perhaps more 
so in the philosophy of religion than in any other field. 
I am including general philosophy, in so far as it talks 
of religious problems, along with the philosophy of relig- 
ion. The term God, for example, has been misused in a 
shameful fashion. Frequently it appears in a discussion 
without any explanation of its meaning, or with one so 
vague that it might denote anything. It has been used 
sometimes to denote a "person", sometimes to denote the 
absolute totality of all, and sometimes merely any process 
that produces good. There are many other definitions; 
1 am merely calling attention to these extraordinary wide 
differences among the meanings of this term. It is fre- 
quently diflficult to determine which sort of concept is de- 
noted by the term God in the writings of a philosopher; 
for thinkers frequently attempt to secure the advantages 
of all these definitions at the same time — both the empir- 
ical evidence for a process, the human affection for a per- 
son, and the completeness of the all. Yet there is a funda- 
mental incompatibility between these conceptions. A pro- 
cess may be used, but it is hardly loved; we love objects, 
not processes. A person may be loved, but he is hardly 
a mere process. The all can hardly be a process, it must 
be all processes, good as well as evil, not merely one 
particular type; it must furthermore be much more 
than mere processes. One of the fundamental demands for 
any procedure that attempts to be a science is to make 
clear what is meant by such a term as "God." 

Tliere are many other unclear and commonly used 
terms, for example the term "person," a term which is 
frequently used in the philosophy of religion, but is un- 
fortunately one of the vaguest terms in philosophy. We 
have in social intercourse so many examples of persons 
that we tend to think the meaning of this concept to be 
clear and exact. But it is notoriously difficult to deter- 
mine precisely the nature and limits of personality. Hu- 
man persons are limited; is the divine person limited? 
Are all animals and even insects persons? When more- 


over the all is said to be a person, most of the usual mean- 
ings in the term "person" drop out. The common state- 
ment that God is a person means merely that he is in 
some vague way analogous to a human being, so that he 
can be loved; but what, from a stone to a star, is not in 
some vague way analogous to a human being? As long 
as we are vague about the meaning of personality, the 
statement that God is a person is, scientifically speaking, 
useless and harmful. 

A second important characteristic of scientific termi- 
nology is the avoidance of metaphors and symbols, and 
merely allusive statements in favor of exact statements. 
When Leibniz discovered what is now called the conser- 
vation of energy, he spoke of vis viva and vis morttia, liv- 
ing and dead power; but these metaphorical expressions 
have gradually been discarded in favor of the less anthro- 
pomorphic terms, kinetic and potential energy. The term 
energy has moreover been defined so that an exact meas- 
urable phenomenon is denoted by that term. 

By contrast with physical science, philosophy of relig- 
ion is full of metaphors and symbols whose exact meaning 
is not specified. The fatherhood of God, dear as that ex- 
pression is to us, is really a metaphor — we do not mean it 
literally. The grace of God and the blessing of God are 
commonly used terms, whose precise meaning is difl^cult 
to discover. The classic statement that "God is love" is 
a metaphor. God must be a great deal more than mere 
affection. I am not decrying these phrases and symbols. 
They have been powerful in their influence upon hu- 
man lives, just as other poetic and literary devices have 
influenced and directed human lives throujrh their use 
in literature and preaching. But these terms do not mean 
what they seem to say and they are fundamentally vague. 
If philosophy of religion is to be a science, we must cease 
to use such terms and substitute for them their literal 
equivalents. Exactness, not allusiveness, is the require- 
ment of science. Should anyone thereupon complain that 
science can only be prose and hence is inevitably dry, he 


should remember that it is science, not poetry, which has 
revolutionized the modern world. 

It is frequently difficult for an autlior to see a metaphor 
even when its occurrence should be quite apparent. 
Sabatier, for example, heads one section in his Outlines 
of a Philosophy of Religion, "Religion is the prayer of 
the heart". Now the heart is a physical organ — he does 
not refer to any physical heart. The precise meaning of 
"heart" in this usage is moreover difficult to state. The 
same situation holds with regard to the notion of "spirit- 
ual life." The life that we have, with which biologists are 
concerned, is a physical affair. A spiritual life would be 
a life that is not physical — this common phrase does not 
really denote a life at all, it is instead a metaphor for a 
particular type of experience. It is useful because of its 
allusiveness, but inappropriate in a science. Exact thought 
should shun such inexact concepts. 

In the third place, philosophy of religion, if it is to be 
a science, need not confine itself to what is observable. 
Positivism has long urged that science confine itself 
to the observable, that is, to what can be perceived by the 
senses; and religion, with its emphasis upon what has 
been called in metaphorical language, "the unseen world," 
has been at a great disadvantage. But the progress of sci- 
ence has brought the positivist into great difficulties. For 
the more advanced a science is, the more it comes to deal 
with unobservable entities. Such features as the rotation 
and revolution of the earth have never been observable. 
They have been inferred on the basis of other observed 
facts, such as the rising and setting of the sun and the 
sequence of the seasons. More recently, physics has been 
dealing effectively with electrons, protons and neutrons — 
particles so minute that they cannot subtend a ray of 
light, and hence cannot be perceived. Yet by indirect 
methods their mass and electric charge have been meas- 
ured; their size has been approximated, and their spins 
have been calculated. Electron beams have recently been 
used to make a microscope vastly more effective than any 
ever before produced. These minute particles are actu- 


ally non-observable by any direct means; their precise 
inner nature is still unknown; but physicists are agreed 
upon their existence. 

There are various other such non-empirical entities in 
modern physical science. Inorganic chemistry has come 
to deal largely with ions, entities that cannot be isolated in 
a pure state (for only ions when combined in compounds 
are isolatablo), and which form lattic sti'uctures in crys- 
tals, whose minute sizes, smaller than the wave length 
of visible light (hence beyond the limits of observation) 
have been measured. There are also electrical fields 
whose precise composition is unknown; photons, which 
mysteriously possess both the characteristics of particles 
and waves; and many other such unobservable entities. 

Science has frequently been defined as "a description 
of the laws of the behavior of objects" (Brightman), but 
if science deals with unobserved entities, such a definition 
would seem to be inadequate. For science has come to be 
not only a description of observed objects but also the es- 
tablishment of the existence and functioning of unobserv- 
able entities. The terms "description" and "behavior" con- 
note the sort of procedure found in the "descriptive 
sciences" and "behaviorism," which confine themselves to 
what is literally observable. Modern science, because it is 
a living thing, has broken the bounds set up for it arbi- 
trarily by positivistic logical theory. Science is an en- 
deavor to explain the behavior of observed objects, moan- 
ing by "explanation" the verification of hypothesis con- 
cerning the underlying nature of the world that will 
enable the derivation of the observed behavior of objects. 

Now if unobservable, non-empirical entities are ac- 
cepted by as rigorous a discipline as physical science, 
why should any religious philosopher balk at adopting 
non-empirical entities or processes? The sole criterion 
used in physical science for the occurrence of these en- 
tities is not whether they are empirically observable or 
not, but merely whether they produce results that can be 
verified in human immediate experience as coming from 
this and no other possible source. If the positivist is cor- 




rect in saying that any discipline dealing with non-empir- 
ical entities is metaphysics, then modern physical science 
has become metaphysics. For the philosophy of religion 
this implication of modern scientific advance is porten- 
tous and opens up the possibility that many or most of 
the entities discussed in religion may, in the future, be- 
come susceptible to scientific proof. 

Let us now sum up the results we have reached : We 
began by stating the alternative that philosophy of relig- 
ion must adopt either the method of literature or that of 
science. In the past, this discipline we must confess has 
largely been literature. But literature, being dogmatic, 
has lost much of its power to guide mankind; today, 
science, which has so powerfully revolutionized the world, 
is rapidly becoming man's sole intellectual guide. If now 
philosophy of religion is to continue its function as our 
guide, as something which I believe is absolutely indispen- 
sable, it must adopt the methods of science. 

In a survey of the kinds of concepts found useful in 
science, we found that philosophy of religion has been 
violating the demands of science and of logic in two 
respects: (1) it has not made its concepts clear and 
exact, and (2) what is another form of the same thing, 
iL has relied upon metaphors or symbols instead of stat- 
ing truths in precise form. With regard to a third re- 
quirement, that all scientific entities must be observable, 
vie found that modern science has adopted and used many 
concepts that refer to unobservable entities, which may 
truly be called non-empirical, in the positivist sense of 
that term. Hence philosophy of religion, in discussing 
such entities as God or the soul, has not been unscientific. 

Let us next apply these conclusions to the central con- 
cept of religion — God. Can the concept of God be used 
in a scientific philosophy of religion, and if so, how may 
that concept be defined? 

If science employs non-empirical concepts, there should 
be no objection to religion's doing the same. It is however 
objected that we do not know what sort of an entity God 
is, for his inner nature remains unknown. In reply, we 


note that precisely the same thing is true about many 
scientific concepts. The inner nature of mass, for ex- 
ample, is quite unknown. It may be merely a form of 
energy or it may be something sui (/eneri^. In spite of 
this fundamental deficiency, physical science goes on 
using mass as one of its fundamental concepts. The inner 
nature of an electric charge is likewise unknown; elec- 
trons and protons possess such a charge, neutrons seem 
to lack it entirely; yet this fact is no obstacle to the scien- 
tific employment and measurement of electric charges 
even in these unobservable particles. In fact, most of the 
fundamental concepts of modern physics seem to be of 
entities whose inner nature is unknown — they are to be 
defined as "an inwardly unknown x that acts in certain 
specified ways." Then the concept of God may be sim- 
ilarly defined as an inwardly unknown x that acts in cer- 
tain ways. The inadequacy of our knowledge about God 
is thus no obstacle to the scientific use of this concept, as 
long as we can specify enough about God so that it is 
possible to distinguish between God and other possible 
entities. An honest modern scientist must accept God as 
a possible scientific concept. 

Another difficulty with the concept of God arises from 
the fact that, since religion seeks for the greatest attain- 
able value, we naturally conceive of God as the highest 
and most valuable entity in the universe. Now the most 
valuable entity we commonly experience is man, so that 
God is accordingly conceived in terms of human life. But 
whatever God is, he is certainly not a human being. An- 
cient national religions did conceive of their gods as mag- 
nified human beings — ^Jupiter, Zeus, Amnn, Asshur, and 
the rest. But these gods, because of their too human 
character, partook of human limitations and imperfec- 
tions, so vanished before the coming of advanced relig- 
ions, especially Christianity. A human, anthropomorphic 
God is quite unsatisfactory for a developed religion. 

Shall we then define God entirely in non-human terms? 
If we omit all human characteristics, God ceases to be 
extremely valuable, since, as we noted, the highest values 


are found in human nature. For God to be worth while, 
and for a religion that is really worth while, God must 
be the supremely valuable feature of the universe. Hence 
it is inevitable that God should be conceived, to a largo 
degree, in terms of human nature. 

The means by which the needed conception of God has 
usually been achieved is through the definition of God as 
a personal being. But the precise nature of human per- 
sonality is difficult to determine. If then personality is 
only a vague notion, how can the concept of a personal 
God find any place in a scientific philosophy of religion? 

The obvious solution of this difficulty is to take some 
definite and fundamental characteristic of human per- 
sonality and use it to define God. The most important 
such characteristic is, I believe, that of purpose. The con- 
cept of will has traditionally been used in that sense, so 
that religious philosophers talked about God's will. But 
the concept of will has largely been dropped from modem 
])sychology. Will, as denoting real choice, is moreover 
denied any real existence by determinists, so that the con- 
cept of will presupposes certain debatable metaphysical 
dogmas — something undesirable in a definition. The class- 
ical notion of will presupposes that of purpose, for will is 
a choice between purposes. Hence, while not denying 
will to God, it would seem best to define personality as 
that which manifests itself in purpose, and use the term 
purpose instead of the frequently misunderstood and 
often vague term, personality. 

Purpose is a quite precise concept. It involves the no- 
tions of a conscious future goal, as yet unattained, to- 
gether with the use of reflection and knowledge in direct- 
ing action towards that goal. We may then define God 
as the supremely great superhuman being possessing pur- 
pose. (By superhuman I mean possessing more power 
than any human being.) 

The natural query arising from such a definition is 
this: What is God's purpose? This query too may be 
answered. Since religion attempts to secure the maximum 
of value, and since God is the central concept of relig- 


ion, the purpose of a God who is to be the central feature 
of a valuable religion must be the achievement of the 
maximum attainable value. We may then define God as 
a being who is personal in the sense of possessing a fun- 
damental purpose, and state that this purpose is the at- 
tainment of the maximum or highest value. 

Such a definition leads us to the further problem of the 
nature of value — one of the most disputed and perplex- 
ing problems in contemporary philosophy. It is impos- 
sible, in a brief compass, to discuss this problem at all 
adequately. I can merely here state my belief that the 
nature and measure of value can be determined and point 
out as evidence that we constantly, daily and hourly, make 
judgments of value, most of which are correct. Since 
such human intuitions of value are so common, are so 
frequently capable of being checked by experience, and 
are usually found correct, we may at present postpone 
the problem of value, and accept human intelligent intui- 
tions of value as normative. God's purpose is then the 
removal of what the best judgment of mankind calls evil 
and the obtaining of what that judgment calls best. We 
know of no other standard of value than our human 
standard. Human beings do not, of course, attain to a 
complete knowledge of that standard, since it, like the 
totality of natural laws (which is the goal of natural 
science), is an ideal; yet human beings do approximate 
that ideal. Our human ideal standard is the only stand- 
ard we have, so that, unless God supports the same 
standard of value as that aimed at by our best 
knowledge, God cannot be good in our sense of the 
word. For a satisfactory religion, i.e., one that produces 
highly valuable effects upon human life, the divine and 
ideal human standards of value must be identical. Other- 
wise God might be properly called a devil; he could not 
be good. 

Directed by the notion of a satisfactory religion, we 
thus come to the definition of God as the supremely great 
superhuman being, possessing a fundamental purpose 
(and hence also reflection and knowledge, together with 


power) directed to the maximum of value (i.e., he is su- 
premely and completely good.) This definition is more- 
over quite suitable for use in a scientific philosophy of 

Various metaphysical problems are naturally suggested 
by such a concept of God as this; I shall not attempt to 
deal with them here. I shall merely ask a different Cand 
highly important) question: Assuming such a concept of 
God, what sort of a religion ensues? For it is important, 
in the philosophy of religion, that our fundamental con- 
cepts should be such as to provide for a satisfactory relig- 
ion, i.e., one that will benefit its human devotees to as 
high a degree as possible. 

The concept of a purposive God has this great advan- 
tage: it provides a purpose and "meaning" for human 
life. If God has this purpose, it is also the purpose of 
the universe, of which he is the central feature, and so it 
is a fit purpose for humanity-. Now the advantage of pos- 
sessing a life-purpose is that this purpose adds value to 
every- act conducing to the achievement of that purpose. 
I may find it an interesting and engrossing task to run 
a settlement for underprivileged children, and discover 
much value in so doing. If however I believe that my ac- 
tivity is also doing God's will, that activity- becomes im- 
mensely more worth while than it would be without that 
belief. It acquires what we call "meaning", that is. it 
becomes, not merely an end in itself, it also becomes a 
means to a broader goal ; this further goal gives it "mean- 
ing" and adds its own value to the intrinsic value of that 
nctivitv-. In this way, the concept of a purposive God 
adds an extremely large amount of value to human life 
— evers' deed that contributes to the furtherance of God's 
purpose becomes more valuable than before. Such a life, 
because it furthers the purpose of the universe, partakes 
of his value and becomes the most valuable type of human 

The concept of a purposeful God furthermore nerves 
humanity' to effortful and determined living. The amount 
of effort I put into a deed depends upon my concept of its 
value. If there is only a moderate amount of value to be 


achieved, I naturally put forth only a moderate amount of 
effort. But if the task of living a righteous life becomes 
tied up to the purpose of the universe, it becomes so much 
more woi'th while that sincere men bend all their energies 
to such a task. When I find that God wants me to do a 
certain deed, that deed becomes linked to all the values 
of God, as well as to its own intrinsic value. The world 
has suffered so much from the evil deeds of humanity 
that we can afford to dispense with no feature which will 
advance the enterprise of righteous living. The concept- 
of a purposeful God is thus the most powerful of incen- 
tives to righteous living. 

This concept in addition gives struggling humanity the 
confidence that man is not alone in the effort to improve 
this suffering world, that behind man's effort there is 
a stronger power which aids him. Such a belief does not 
necessarily give any man the assurance of victory, for 
there is also the fact of sin — action contrary to God's pur- 
pose. I can only be sure that if I carry out God's purpose 
and if other persons do so too, victory will be assured; 
for God, being good as well as powerful, must have ar- 
ranged matters so that victory can be attained. What we 
usually neglect is the necessity of our securing the co- 
operation of others — it takes only one nation to make 
war, but it takes two to make a lasting peace. This fact 
is what pacifists have often neglected, that for a genuine 
peace I must not only take a loving attitude to others, but 
also persuade others to take the same attitude. Hence the 
preaching of the gospel to all men, persuading them of 
their need for and inducing them to accept the truth, is 
a consequence of this concept. I can be sure of victory 
through God's help, but only if I get others to accept the 
same attitude that I take. 

The concept of a God concerned in securing the max- 
imum of value moreover makes the whole of life a series 
of religious acts. Sometimes, especially among supernat- 
uralists, only the life of the religious leader and perhaps 
that of the social worker has been considered to be relig- 
ious. But if God is concerned with the maximum of total 
value, all sorts of value-producing occupations become 


equally religious, in so far as they are equally valuable. 
Of course some occupations and deeds must be excluded 
as irreligious, for there are some that are anti-social and 
destructive of value, hence sinful. But the farmers who 
I'aise the food without which we could not live (an indefi- 
nitely gi'eat value) are just as indispensable as the 
preacher who disseminates the truth (another indefinitely 
great value), and lience their activity is just as reliq^ious 
as his, since both do the will of God. The reason we do 
not value the work of the farmer as highly as that of the 
preacher is because there are many good farmers and 
comparatively few good preachers. If their numbers were 
reversed, so that preaching was plentiful and food scarce, 
our valuations of these two indispensable occupations 
would be reversed. Merchants who ^id in distributing 
goods, scientists and research workers who discover new 
ways of producing goods, doctors and universities, who 
relieve suffering or train individuals, carry oi!t, in their 
ordinary occupations, the will of God, which is the attain- 
ment of value. Hence such supposedly secular occupr^'ions 
become really religious; and scientific work, even of the 
most recondite nature, if it is directed toward valuable 
results, is a profoundly religious act to the person who 
recognizes it as the will of God. So there ceases to be any 
ultimate divergence between the aims of science and of 
religion. Indeed, any activity that produces any good b^:!- 
comes God's will and is religious. The addition of value 
to life through the possession of a life-purpose, which is 
produced by the concept of a purposive God, can spread 
to the whole of a fruitful life, even to its minutest rami- 

There is thus no limit to the amount of value that this 
concept a purposive God can add to human life. I 
know of no other single concept that can do as much. It 
must be an integral and permanent part of any satisfac- 
tory religion. Indeed it has been the central feature 
of the world's greatest universal religions, though often 
expressed in terms different from the ones used here and 
hampered by incompatible concepts. It would seem to be 
an inescapable and necessary concer>t for reliqious r^en. 



Dedication of Annie Pfeiffer chapel, unique college 
structure designed by the noted Wisconsin architect, 
Frank Lloyd Wright, \vas held on March 9 with four 
bishops of the Methodist church participating in the cere- 

The new structure, the theme building of a foundation 
which will stress the harmonious merging of science and 
religion on the campus, is named in honor of the prin- 
cipal donor, Mrs. Annie M. Pfeiffer of New York City. It 
is the first of a group of 14. A unit of three seminar 
buildings has been started and President Ludd M. Spivey 
expects to begin others in thCrnear future. 

Acknowledging the college's indebtedness to Mrs. 
Pfeiffer, Bishop Arthur J. Moore of Atlanta declared in 
his dedicatory address that the chapel was being dedi- 
cated "to be a home for those spiritual ideals which will 
save our youth from the clutches of a purely mechanistic 
interpretation of life." 

Bishop Moore conducted the ritual of dedication after 
his address, presentation of the building by Mrs. Pfeiffer, 
and acceptance by J. E. Wall of Tampa, chairman of the 
college board of trustees. Bishop Charles W. Flint of 
Rochester, N. Y., Bishop John M. Moore of Dallas, and 
Bishop W. F. Anderson, now a member of the Southern 
faculty, assisted in the ceremony. 

In the architecture of Annie Pfeiffer chapel, and of the 
other foundation buildings, Architect Wright proposes to 
create a Florida pattern, an architecture indigenous to 
the state. 

Planned in terms of low, heavy monolithic sweeps of 
reinforced concrete, steel, and glass, the chapel is a new- 
departure in college architecture. Balconies overhang the 
north and south ends of the structure while the east and 


west sides project to a point, making the chapel roughly 

Built from student labor principally from coquina 
blocks, made on the site, and concrete, the building lacks 
conventional windows, light coming through skylights in 
the roof and tower which rises to a total height of 65 
feet. Perforations in the blocks are inlaid with colored 
glass which provides indirect lighting. 

Four entrances, as well as four stairways to the mez- 
zanine level, are distributed at each corner. Seating re- 
volves in a semi-circle about the rostrum with no one in 
the audience being more than 50 feet from the speaker. 

Extensive use of flowers and vines within the building 
and in boxes in the concrete arches at either end of the 
tower, adds to the architect's efforts to "bring the out- 
doors into the building." 

Dedication of the chapel concluded the celebration of 
P'^ounders' Week at the college marking the institution's 
fifty-sixth anniversary. 

The week's festivities began Monday night, March 3, 
when President Splvey was honored upon completion of 
his sixteenth year as executive of the college. 

Mrs. WeltRy Honsinger Fisher, widow of Dr. Fred B. 
Fisher, Methodist bishop to India who gave the Hindu 
temple to the college, spoke Thursday morning declaring 
that man must decide whether he wants to bow at the 
"altar of nationalism or that of humanity." 

She observed that "Jesus faced the same problems that 
we are facing today" designating them as exaggerated 
nationalism, race prejudice, religious formalism, and that 
of pride represented in caste and other class distinctions. 

Judas came to betray Jesus because he did not become 
a figure to carry out Judas' nationalistic desires, Mrs. 
Fisher suggested. 

"Changeless Facts in a Changing World" were discus- 
sed Thursday night by Dr. Roy L. Smith, editor of "The 
Christian Advocate," who declared that "youth today is 
living through the most difficult period any generation has 


ever faced. The world as a whole tonight is faced with 
the most calamitous situation it has ever known," he 
asserted. "The most hopeful thing we can see is the type 
of young men and women, who can make democracy work 
in America, being produced by our schools." 

"This is still God's world — it doesn't belong to any 
party or individual," Dr. Smith proposed as his first 
"changeless fact." Hitler's prelude and postlude apol- 
ogies for each of his invasions is evidence that the "world 
today admits that there is a law above all men," he said. 

Dr. Harold D. Meyer, professor of sociology at the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina, spoke Friday morning on op- 
portunities for youth in the South. 

Dr. Smith spoke again Friday afternoon at the annual 
Convocation at which seven persons received honorary 
degrees. Recipients were: Governor Spessard L. Holland 
of Florida, former trustee of the college, doctor of laws; 
Mrs. Pfeiffer, supporter of educational, religious, and mis- 
sionary efforts, doctor of humanities; Dr. Smith, religious 
and secular journalist and former minister, doctor of hu- 
manities; C. K. Vliet, secretary ol the Board of Missions 
and Church Extension of the Methodist church, doctor of 
divinity; Milton W. Carothers, director of instruction, 
Flr^-'if'p. dcpaii-ment nf ndncation, doctor of laws; Profes- 
sor Meyer, doctor of laws ; Bishop Arthur J. Moore of the 
Atlanta area of the Methodist church, doctor of laws. 

In his Convocation address. Dr. Smith declared that 
there can be no compromise between the philosophies of 
totalitarianism and dem.ocracy. "Colleges must teach stu- 
dents what to think as well as how to think," he asserted, 
"for just as a child will eat only desserts, if not guided, 
so will a student choose the 'desserts' in education if not 

Governor Holland told a Founders' Week audience Sat- 
urday morning that "You can't live a day without having 
a chance to serve as a citizen. If you don't look for those 
chances or accept them when you see them, you are weak- 
ening democracy." 

"We've been taking things for granted, at least until 


recently, being content to enjoy our privileges without 
doing anything to perpetuate them," he said, "but it is 
now necessary that we arouse in the mind of the indi- 
vidual citizen an understanding that all of these things 
come as concomitants of democratic government." 

The "shocks" of the last year or so have brought a 
change of attitude and effort by the people as a whole, 
Governor Holland observed. "Space has been annihilated, 
our old feeling of security has been shaken for we now 
have little security of distance," the speaker pointed out. 

The result has been to put "America on her toes" in a 
way she never was during the first world war, he related. 

"America has become a beacon on the hill toward which 
oppressed peoples of the world are looking for a chance 
tc live again in freedom," the governor stated. 

Democracy can't purchase security, for "preparedness 
must be based on the attitude of individual citizens to- 
ward their government, their loyalty to leaders, and their 
willingness to serve," he stated and asserted that in these 
citizens and their institutions must be built the conviction 
that "democracy is eternally right." 

Suggesting that tolerance, unity, and harmony must 
exist for democracy to prevail. Governor Holland said he 
has observed a growing tendency over the country for 
leaders and citizens to be more tolerant, thus preventing 
erection of barriers to the continuance of democracy. 

"We've got to get back to base rock, bed rock, values 
and I am pleased to see the interest of young people in 
their governments which indicates that a high morale is 
being builded again," he said. 

"With an America aroused, active, devoted, with its 
present and future leadership, there's no possibility of 
democracy not prevailing," the governor predicted. 

Speaking in College Heights Methodist church Sunday 
morning. Bishop John M. Moore declared that the "time 
lias come when we must do a little thinking about what 
man is and what he is here for." 

Stating a consciousness of "great forces, operating for 
the transformation of power, that are to take man for- 


ward from this place," Bishop Moore asserted that "what 
we think about man determines, more than any other fac- 
tor, what we think about anything else." 

"If we're to find out what mankind has to deal with, 
we must get a standardized conception of man. You 
know," he said, "it takes a master conception to lead to 
a master production." 

"Man rules by what he is — by what he has in his mind 
and heart — and nothing else will, but he can only be the 
master of the world as he keeps pace with the enlarging 
forces of the world," the retired bishop observed. 

Making the "adequate" man is the great task today for 
although man has "done marvelously well in building 
houses, ditches, canals, machinery, and other physical 
achievements, there has been an extravagant waste of 
'human' materials," Bishop Moore suggested. 

Insisting that "Man doesn't need a new world or a new 
heaven, but a new entrance into the world in which he 
lives," the speaker demanded that "man find out that it 
is for him to say what Jesus said, 'I am the way, the 
truth, and the life, and from me shall come that which 
shall glorify the world."' 


An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament. 
By William Douglas Chamberlain. New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1941. 233 pages. $4.00. 

This is an excellent book for one who wishes to make 
himself familiar with the Greek of the New Testament. 
It is well suited to the needs of beginners if they have 
first learned the Greek alphabet. It has grown out of the 
practical experience of the teacher and is admirably de- 
signed to meet the needs of any student who is willing to 
take seriously the task of making himself at home in the 
language. The classical basis of the Greek language is 
fully recognized, while at the same time the distinctive- 
ness of the New Testament as a product of the common 
dialect current in the Roman Empire in the first Chris- 
tian century is not ignored. The book is distinctively a 
grammar of the New Testament, not of classical, Greek, 
and the significance of the grammatical structure is ex- 
pounded in terms of popular usage in the New Testament 
period. Yet the author has not drawn heavily upon illus- 
trative material from the papyri, and only occasionally 
has he taken into account the influence of the earlier 
Greek translation of the Old Testament. But it must be 
noted that he was writing an exegetical, not a historical, 
grammar. As an aid to the understanding of the struc- 
ture and syntax of the Greek language of the New Testa- 
ment it will render a welcome service. The study of clas- 
sical Greek has so generally disappeared from the present- 
day college curriculum that more and more will one who 
wishes a knowledge of the original language of the New 
Testament begin his study of Greek with this body of 
literature. Gradually we are learning that this task can 
be successfully and profitably pursued, but textbooks de- 
signed for this particular purpose are as yet compara- 
tively scarce. The present volume fills an important gap 
in this field. 


Just Among Friends. By William Wistar Comfort. New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1941. 210 pages. $2.00. 

This book by the former president of Haverford Col- 
lege might well be titled "Quaker Primer, or an Introduc- 
tion to the People called Friends," for it is written for 
the person who may never have heard of the Friends. The 
author sets out to make it simple for the man who has 
heard nothing of the Quakers except that they are a queer 
people who say "thee" and "thou" to each other. Even 
here he is careful to point out that American Friends may 
use "thee" and "thy" but never "thou". Due consideration 
i«! taken of the uninformed who may inquire of the 
Quaker system, "Where does the pope figure in?" 

The first chapter gives attention to the simple faith of 
the Friends. This is followed by a chapter on the Quaker 
meetings and the use of silence in worship. Attention is 
given to the values and drawbacks of the system of casual 
leadership. A brief survey of the larger relationships 
of the Quakers is made, especially in matters of business 
ethics, race relations, and education. 

Of all the Quaker "testimonies," that connected with 
peace is most definitely associated with them at the pres- 
ent time. One chapter is devoted to peace activities. The 
Quakers are called a kind of "holding company" for all 
those who above everything else seek peace. 

The book is neither a history of the Friends nor an ac- 
count of their achievement. It is a simple explanation of 
their way of life, and an account of how it came about, 
how it is perpetuated, and its results. It will be read 
with interest by all to whom the name Quaker or Friends 
is only an empty title associated with a group reputed 
to be interested in peace and good works. The book will 
help all to understand how the Quakers have been influ- 
ential out of all proportion to their numbers. 



The Sermon O71 The Mount. By Martin Dibeliiis. New- 
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. 143 pages. $1.50. 

This is a small volume on a large theme. It is a, very 
compact and incisive interpretation of the content of the 
Sermon on the Mount and a sober exposition of its mean- 
ing for modern times. Rigidly adhering to the demands 
of both philological and historical study, the author then 
proceeds to consider whether the document is simply a 
deposit in the dead past or whether it has vital signifi- 
cance for determining the right position of true Chris- 
tians today. 

The composite character of the Sermon in its present 
literary form is clearly demonstrated. Its content in both 
Matthew and Luke shows it to have been derived from 
earlier sources that have been given their present shape 
as an expression of what early Christians believed to be 
the correct summary of the teachings of Jesu">. In this 
opinion they were mainly correct, although they some- 
times made alterations and additions designed to adjust 
the teaching to the specific conditions of their own day. 

Originally Jesus did not teach in the form of long ad- 
dresses but in brief sayings, parables, short stories, and 
the like. These remarks were remembered by his fol- 
lowers and repeated in their preaching. Then in the 
course of time this floating tradition was assembled into 
larger units by Christian writers who thus sought to pro- 
duce documents that would be more serviceable for the 
missionary and educational purposes of the growing 
church. The result was connected gospel narratives such 
as we now have in the New Testament. 

A critical examination of the older units that have been 
combined in the gospels reveals the real character and 
content of Jesus' teaching. Professor Dibelius concludes 
that Jesus always had in mind, not conditions in the pres- 
ent world, but the ideal life of perfection that was to be 
realized when the Kingdom of God would presently break 
in from without upon the existing evil world. That is, 
he taught an ethics applicable to the new age which he 
expected God to inaugurate miraculously in the near fu- 


ture. All of his teaching is thought to have been framed 
with reference to this eschatological anticipation, and his 
message was not supposed to be practically realizable 
under current conditions. 

If Jesus entertained this point of view what did he 
think of himself and his mission? This question is con- 
sidered at some length. The answer given in the gospels 
is thought to be confused by two stages in the experience 
of his followers. One stage is their thought before they 
attained belief in his resurrection and the other is their 
state of mind after that event. Keeping this distinction 
in view our author reconstructs the probable meaning of 
Jesus to have been three points: (1) His teaching was 
intended to be a revelation of the pure will of God ; (2) 
the commandments related to the new life to be lived in 
the coming age when God would set up his kingdom; and 
f3) full obedience here and now was impossible and Jesus 
did not intend that his teaching should be made a present 
rule of life. 

On this understanding of the Sermon, its pertinence 
for the world of today is expounded in terms of the 
"crisis" theology that seems to have cast its spell over 
Professor Dibelius. Jesus, he thinks, did not intend that 
his hearers should try to perform the will of God but only 
that their lives should be transformed by the astounding 
awareness of God's impossible demands. Salvation must 
be accomplished by God himself and not by human ac- 
tivism directed by supposed injunctions of Jesus, It must 
be eschatological, but just when the miraculous event will 
occur we cannot pretend to know. In the meantime it is 
not our duty to do something, but to let God operate upon 
us by revealing his absolute perfection in contrast with 
our human frailty and sin. It is not our task to found 
the Kingdom of God on earth but patiently to await the 
action of the transcendent Deity. This, it is assumed, is 
what true Christianity was at the outset and is what it 
must become today if it is to be genuine. 

This interpretation may well be relative to the state of 
desperation in which German Christians find themselves 
but it does not fit normally into the American scene. 


Biography of the Gods. By A. Eustace Haydon. New 
York: The MacmiUan Company, 1941. 342 pages. $2.50. 

The folklore of the ages abounds with tales about the 
birth, creation or miraculous appearance of the gods. 
There has been no lack of theories as to how the gods be- 
gan. The search for the origins of the gods began long 
ago, but usually with so many reservations that any re- 
sulting answer was extremely biased. Christian scholars, 
for example, speculated for centuries on the origin of 
"heathen" deities without realizing the possible implica- 
tions for their own beginningless god. The search for 
divine origins was long clouded by the fact that the 
searchers frequently misunderstood their findings and in- 
terpreted them as the blundering gropings of a prelit- 
erate peoples toward the "true" idea of God, Professor 
Haydon points out that it took long to realize that when 
thought pushed beyond the folk gods it faced the blank 
unknown, that all the reality there was to the gods was 
embodied in the ideas of them, that the only real and 
practically effective gods were those embedded in the ex- 
perience and thought of the people who depended upon 
them, and that an unknown god, behind and beyond the 
god-idea, was empty of meaning for religion. 

In this volume, the author finds the original source 
from which gods arose in the emotional response to 
helpful natural forces, though he points out that this 
alone would have been sufl!icient to preserve them 
when increased experience brought the function of 
natural phenomena within the sphere of human under- 
standing. The ideas of soul and spirit, as well as the un- 
usual and startling happenings that approached the un- 
Imown and for which there were no traditional responses, 
helped to give depth and mystery to the emerging god- 
ideas. These influences, together with the eager outreach 
of human need for help, have been the most important of 
the blended influences shaping the nature of the gods. 
Though the relative importance of the elements varied, 
the essential thing was that man made a working alliance 


with the forces that affected his life and satisfied his 

The second chapter is devoted to a discussion of how 
prods change and to an elaboration of the idea that the 
vitality of the gods is most clearly manifest in their abil- 
ity to change. Yahweh of Israel is illustrative of the 
god who was compelled to assume new duties and to take 
over the functions of other gods in order to hold his place 
in popular devotion. The devotees of any god will do well 
to ponder the truth of the assertion that so long as a god 
lives, he changes. Many people feel that the highest 
tribute is being paid to a god when he is said to be 
changeless, but only dead gods cliange not. The great 
deities who have breasted the storms of centuries to stand 
on the horizon of the modern world, have lived on because 
they knew how to adjust their characters to the altered 
intellectual and social climate of each new era. A study 
of the gods who died is made in the third chapter. 

Following the three introductory chapters, Professor 
Haydon presents a most compelling biography of the 
leading gods who have not been cast aside — Ahura Mazda, 
the gods of India, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the gods of 
China, Amaterasu-Omikami, Yahweh, the Christian god, 
and Allah. The final chapter is devoted to the twilight 
of the gods, wherein it is pointed out that the gods have 
C'nly one deadly enemy — the cultural change which under- 
mines the tradition and institutions which foster faith in 
their ability to serve and save. 

Some readers are pretty sure to feel that the author 
has maligned their god. It is extremely hard for the cult 
member to view his own god with the same dispassion 
that he exhibits toward the gods of others. Professor 
Haydon has rendered a valuable service in this scientific 
biography of the gods. It should be read by all who be- 
lieve in any god. 


A Preface To Christian Theology. By John A. Mackay. 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1941. 183 pages. 

This book is unique among treatises on theology in that 
it is distinctly the product of a literary imagination. It is 
charmingly written. The substance of the book was first 
delivered as a series of oral lectures at Union Seminary 
in Richmond, Virginia, and subsequently given literary 
form for a wider public. The author has had in mind not 
so much the technical theologian as the ordinary intel- 
ligent reader among both the clergy and the laity. He has 
aimed at a persuasive presentation of certain elemental 
convictions rather than at the exposi